Lexington Engineer Steven Gardner has more than four decades of experience working with and advocating for the mining industry.
He also had the backing of President Donald Trump, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan in his bid to run the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement.
But on Thursday Bloomberg News reported Gardner withdrew his nomination to head the agency responsible for protecting society and the environment from the adverse effects of coal mining.
Specifically, Gardner became frustrated with the ethics review, which he says had been going on for nearly a year with no end in sight.
The environmental group The Sierra Club said Trump should never have nominated Gardner in the first place. It’s attorney, Peter Morgan, says Gardner has a long history of casting doubt on established science in favor of a pro-industry perspective.
“The reason we are pleased by that development is that it had become unfortunately very clean that Mr Gardner was being appointed solely to represent the interests of the coal mining industry,” said Sierra Club attorney Peter Morgan.
Gardner was not immediately available for comment.
Morgan says he’s surprised and pleased that Gardner withdrew his nomination.
“He completely, consistently took the pro-industry perspective and in doing so he often called into question or cast doubt on really established science,” Morgan said.