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EPA strips chief of enforcement power

The enforcement arm of the Environmental Protection Agency may lose some of its punch. The New York Times reported EPA administrator Anne Gorsuch ordered another power shuffle inside the agency, under which the chief enforcement counsel, William A. Sullivan Jr., has been stripped of all independent powers, and must obtain approval for enforcement decisions from general counsel Robert M. Perry.

Critics, who had previously accused the agency of lax enforcement of environmental laws, said the result of the action would be fewer lawsuits against violators. Mr. Sullivan had been publicly supporting the filing of more lawsuits, according to the Times. But an EPA spokesman said the move would improve enforcement efforts, the report said.

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