This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."
Granta Y. Nakayama was nominated June 23, 2005, by President George W. Bush to serve as head of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), the enforcement division of the Environmental Protection Agency, during Bush's second term. The U.S. Senate approved Nakayama's nomination on July 29, 2005; and he was sworn into office on August 16. Nakayama replaced Acting Assistant Administrator Thomas V. Skinner. 
At the time of his nomination June 23, 2005, Nakayama was serving as a "Partner for Environmental Law and Product Safety at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP in Washington, DC. In addition, he is an adjunct professor at George Mason University School of Law, where he teaches environmental law. He previously served as Chief of Quality Control for Welding and Nondestructive Testing Branch of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program for the United States Navy. Prior to this position, Mr. Nakayama served as Chief Engineer for Nuclear Core Manufacturing for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. Mr. Nakayama earned his bachelor's and master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his J.D. from George Mason University."
See Granta Y. Nakayama's profile on Kirkland & Ellis LLP website.
Grounds for Controversy
Charles Pope, Washington Correspondent for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, wrote June 25, 2005, that "Selecting a lawyer and an engineer with one of the nation's largest corporate law firms, whose clients have deep and occasionally controversial relations with the EPA, triggered concerns that Nakayama would not be able to aggressively enforce environmental laws." In 2002, Eric Schaeffer resigned from the position "because he believed the agency wasn't aggressive enough in enforcing environmental standards." 
- "W.R. Grace, which is under federal criminal indictment on charges related to the operation of its vermiculite mine in Libby, Mont. Hundreds of workers and Libby residents contracted lethal asbestos-related disease -- a situation that gained national attention after a Seattle Post-Intelligencer series in 1999."
- "'Given the criminal indictment against W.R. Grace, Mr. Nakayama's potential conflict of interest deserves special examination during the confirmation process in the Senate,' said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C., research organization that has done extensive work on asbestos-related illness."
- Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., expressed concern about the nomination. ... 'This appointment is just the latest in a series of moves that calls into question this administration's commitment to protecting our environment, our natural resources and the health and well-being of all Americans,' said Murray, who has aggressively pushed legislation to ban asbestos."
- "Critics say the White House has attempted to minimize the science supporting such things as global warming and the danger of mercury."
"As the EPA's chief enforcer, Nakayama would be responsible for ensuring that companies, communities and individuals adhere to laws protecting air and water and ensure that waste is properly processed and handled.
"In that respect," Pope wrote, "Nakayama is well qualified. In 10 years with Kirkland & Ellis and as a practicing engineer, he represented companies whose products or services were regulated by the EPA and by state agencies." 
- W.R. Grace website.
Articles & Commentary
- Granta Nakayama, "Time for a Change - Part 2: Our Schools," October 16, 2002, and "Time for a Change - Part 3: When the Walls Come Tumbling Down," Hawaii Reporter, October 21, 2002.
- Charles Pope, "Concerns arise over Bush's pick for EPA job. Lawyer works for firm that represents W.R. Grace, others," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 25, 2005.
- Andrew Schneider, "Firm of EPA nominee linked to Grace. Kirkland, Ellis represents company in pollution case," Baltimore Sun, June 25, 2005.
- Jennifer McKee, "New EPA division nominee has ties to W.R. Grace," The Montana Standard, June 25, 2005.