A high-ranking attorney at the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday was named as the first general counsel for the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission, shortly after she resigned her EPA position.
Sarah Greenwalt, who presently serves as the senior counsel to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, will continue in her role at the agency until June 13.
She will begin her job as GC for the WCC on June 25. In her new position she will report directly to commissioners Mark Liotta, Jordan Russell and Megan Tilly. She will be responsible for providing counsel for all legal affairs and regulatory concerns of the WCC and will actively participate in the commission’s legislative efforts.
Liotta said in the announcement of Greenwalt’s hire that he is thankful to have someone with significant government experience for the new position at WCC.
“She has argued cases at the district and appellate courts and State Supreme Court. We are fortunate to find someone with her knowledge of State government legal operations and demonstrated legal acumen,” Liotta said.
Pruitt said in an emailed statement that he has worked with Greenwalt for years going back to his days as the Oklahoma attorney general and described her as a “tremendous leader within the agency.” He said she played a vital role in the rewriting of the Obama administration’s Waters of the U.S. Rule (WOTUS), which expanded federal jurisdiction over bodies of water.
“While her work ethic, dedication and friendship will be missed at the Agency, I know she will find success in her future endeavors in Oklahoma,” Pruitt wrote.
Greenwalt’s time at the EPA has not been without controversy. The EPA faced scrutiny earlier this year when Greenwalt received a 52 percent raise against the objections of the White House, according to a report in the New York Times.
The Times said Greenwalt had been making $107,435 a year and was given a raise to $164,200. A report in The Atlantic indicates that Pruitt approached the White House with the idea of the substantial raise for Greenwalt and another employee and when he was denied by the Trump administration, Pruitt gave Greenwalt the raise anyway.
Greenwalt isn’t the only person to leave the EPA this month. Millan Hupp, Pruitt’s director of scheduling and advance, will be leaving the agency, according to news reports.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Greenwalt graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Law in 2013. In the same year she went to work at the Oklahoma Office of Attorney General as assistant solicitor general under then-AG Pruitt.
In 2016, she became the general counsel of the Oklahoma Office of Attorney General. After Pruitt was named administrator of the EPA, Greenwalt moved to Washington, D.C., to be his senior adviser and senior counsel.
Greenwalt said in an emailed statement that she will miss her role at the EPA, but looks forward to serving the citizens of Oklahoma.
“While I will deeply cherish my time serving in the Trump Administration, I am excited for the opportunity to return to my home state to once again serve the people of Oklahoma,” Greenwalt wrote.