Former Santa Barbara County supervisor Mike Stoker will be sworn in as chief of the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9 on Monday morning. When his name surfaced as a candidate for the post, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein wrote to EPA head Scott Pruitt, objecting that if Stoker would not move to San Francisco headquarters — he reportedly preferred to live in Carpinteria and commute to the Los Angeles office — how would he run a 700-person agency that requires face-to-face meetings with staffers and others? Further, she demanded, what kind of travel expenses would he incur?
Stoker, who lives in Carpinteria, said he will be on the road 80 percent of his time as a goodwill ambassador for the EPA. He’ll head up the Pacific Southwest Region, which includes California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Arizona. Stoker was previously a spokesperson for Greka Energy, which has the distinction of being the most-penalized of Santa Barbara County’s oil-extraction companies.