Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt appointed Cathy Stepp to become regional administrator for Region 5, which includes the home of the lead contamination crisis in Flint, Mich., the agency announced Tuesday.
Stepp will oversee EPA efforts in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
The Region 5 office has become of critical political importance in recent years after the Flint drinking water crisis captured national attention during last year's presidential election.
The drinking water crisis in the working-class city north of Detroit also became a focal point in congressional oversight last year and in major spending bill fights. The crisis started after Republican Gov. Rick Snyder appointed a project manager to find more cost-effective ways of supplying water to Flint.
The appointee signed off on a plan to divert the city's water supply from Lake Michigan to the Flint River, which caused the drinking water pipes in the city to corrode, sending large amounts of lead into residents' drinking water.
Stepp is coming from the EPA Region 7 office, where she serves as principal deputy regional administrator. Region 7 serves Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and nine tribal nations.
She previously served in the Midwest region as the secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources from 2011 to 2017. She also served as a state senator in Wisconsin.
Pruitt said her experience brings "a fresh perspective to EPA as we look to implement President Trump’s agenda.”
Susan Hedman, the Region 5 head who served under the Obama administration's EPA, resigned over the Flint water crisis after it was reported that she refused to provide information on the lead contamination crisis after being contacted by the mayor.