Former city official outlines priorities as EPA Region 9 Administrator 

Jared Blumenfeld, who served as chief environmental adviser to mayors Gavin Newsom and Willie Brown, vowed to increase enforcement of federal environmental laws in his new role with President Barack Obama’s administration.

Blumenfeld began his new role as regional administrator for the US Environmental Protection Agency three weeks ago. He outlined his priorities Tuesday to a group of journalists.

“We’re not going to be wallflowers when it comes to taking legal action,” Blumenfeld said. “It’s very important to make sure that we’re diligent and judicious when it comes to enforcement actions. When people break the law and we have the scientific proof and the legal basis to take action, we will.”

Blumenfeld said his other priorities will include helping small businesses and small municipalities secure grants and other federal environmental assistance and improving environmental conditions in tribal nations and in neighborhoods where heavy industry has most heavily impacted air and water quality.

Communicating clearly with the public about climate change and other environmental issues will be one of the goals of the EPA’s Region 9 under Blumenfeld, he said. The region covers California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands and more than 140 tribal nations.

“My biggest concern, from a communications perspective, is that we’ve completely lost touch with the American public when it comes to the environment,” Blumenfeld said.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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