Michael Picker stood in the freezing cold outside of the Environmental Protection Agency early Thursday morning passing out fliers that read, “Come work for California. Fight climate change.”
Picker was far away from his home in Sacramento, where he is the president of California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), for meetings with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. He decided to try to recruit demoralized EPA staffers, who are facing deep program cuts and controversial new leadership. The EPA’s new administrator, Scott Pruitt, has a long record of opposing the agency’s work.
Picker hopes to entice them to work for a state government with one of the most ambitious climate goals in the country. California is looking to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The fliers pointed people to a webpage to sign up for more details.
Picker’s timing was good: The White House had just unveiled cuts of 31 percent to the agency’s budget, the smallest proposed budget in 40 years. In Michigan, Trump had announced his plan to roll back the EPA’s fuel efficiency standards for cars. And, any day now, …