WASHINGTON D.C. - The region director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Mike Stoker has been released from his duties according to a short letter from the EPA. Stoker is a Carpinteria resident.
Stoker is a former two-time Santa Barbara County Supervisor serving in the second and fifth districts. He was appointed to head the Region 9 Environmental Protection Agency office. That covered California , Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, 148 tribes, and the Pacific Islands.
In about two years on the job Stoker traveled to many of the sites for a first had look at issues the EPA deals with.
He released information about several enforcement actions and penalties against polluting companies.
Stoker has told the San Francisco Chronicle he believes the issue was "100% personal." He asked why he was fired and did not get an answer.
Stoker was striving to be bi-partisan in this position. "Last time I checked, the EPA's mission to protect the public health and environment is not a partisan issue. At least it never has been for me," he wrote in a statement Thursday.
Stoker had been criticized for not working regularly out of the San Francisco office where the region headquarters and 600 employees are located. He said early on, while he would go there, he would also work in Los Angeles, which is closer to his home in southern Santa Barbara County.
It's unclear if that became an issue on effectiveness or with travel costs.
Stoker is an attorney who has held Santa Barbara County Supervisors positions and was originally appointed to the second district by Governor George Dukemejian to fill a vacancy left by Bob Kallman who took a national level position in the Interior Department. Stoker was sworn in February 17, 1986 by Superior Court Judge Bruce Dodds and won in his first election that same year.
Later in his career he served in the fifth district.
He has also been the Chairman of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board.
During the troubled times for Greka Oil & Gas in Northern Santa Barbara County , which had many failing pipes, he served as an industry representative. Stoker urged the company officials to have an open dialogue with the community and to pay for clean up efforts as well as reliable upgrades as quickly as possible.