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EPA official may have dodged ethics rules in DTE case

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Congressional Democrats are calling on the EPA’s Office of Inspector General to investigate a possible ethics violation. They say an attorney who once represented Michigan-based DTE Energy may have violated conflict-of-interest rules.

A report in the Washington Post says EPA air quality Chief Bill Wehrum offered advice to the agency that may have benefited his former client.

Skiles Boyd is with DTE. He says the utility had little contact with Wehrum after hiring his firm.

“You know, they’re a well-established Washington law firm that knows this issue very well, and hired them to represent us in this case.”

Boyd says DTE was already on its way to resolving the emissions case when Wehrum became involved.

He says the utility rarely worked directly with Wehrum.

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“We hired this law firm in 2010, well before Bill Wareham was being considered for the EPA position. He is not one of the people I dealt with periodically on the case itself.”

Congressional Democrats have called on the EPA to open an investigation into whether ethics rules were violated.