November 16, 2018 10:55:27 AM
WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration's top environmental official for the Southeast was arrested Thursday on criminal ethics charges in Alabama reported to be related to a scheme to help a coal company avoid paying for a costly toxic waste cleanup.
Trey Glenn, 47, was briefly booked into a county jail in Birmingham before being released on a $30,000 bond. Glenn was appointed in August 2017 to serve as chief of the Environmental Protection Agency's regional office in Atlanta, which oversees operations in eight states stretching from the Carolinas to Mississippi.
A grand jury indicted Glenn and his former business partner Scott Phillips earlier this week. Prior to Glenn's appointment at EPA, he and Phillips worked for the coal company Drummond Co. to build state and local opposition to a federal Superfund cleanup in Birmingham that their client would have had to help fund.
Glenn resigned as director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management in 2009 following an earlier ethics scandal in which he was not charged. He worked as an industry lobbyist before his appointment to EPA.
In a statement provided by his lawyer, Glenn denied the charges.
"The charges against me are totally unfounded, and will be vigorously defended," Glenn said. "I am innocent and expect to be fully vindicated."
The office of EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler has declined to comment since Glenn's indictment was first reported by local media in Alabama on Tuesday.
"We're not going to comment on that," EPA spokesman John Konkus said Thursday. "We're just not going to do it."
Wheeler has been running EPA since former Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned in July under a cloud of ethics scandals.