House Speaker Paul Ryan announced last week that he won't seek re-election in 2018. His decision will have major consequences for the Republican Party — and potentially for climate and energy policy.

In the second episode of GTM’s new podcast Political Climate, co-host Shane Skelton, former energy adviser to Paul Ryan, explains why losing the Wisconsin lawmaker's leadership in Congress will be bad for advancing environmental legislation.

Next, we tackle the controversy surrounding EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. We’ve seen the reports of his $25,000 soundproof phone booth (later revealed to be more like $43,000), first-class plane tickets, and a $50-per-night apartment linked to energy lobbyists. Equally troubling, employees were reportedly sidelined for questioning Pruitt. Kevin Chmielewski, a Trump supporter who served as deputy chief of staff for operations at EPA, felt compelled to notify congressional staff of Pruitt's questionable spending habits.

Where there other ethical missteps? Podcast co-host Brandon Hurlbut, a former White House staffer to President Obama, thinks a whistleblower situation means there's more to come.

If Pruitt is ultimately removed, his new second in command, Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, could take the helm of the EPA. If he does, what will that mean for the environment agency?

Finally, we discuss the nomination of Mike Pompeo, President Trump’s new pick to lead the State Department, and what his leadership could mean for U.S. climate action.

Recommended reading:

  • ABC: House Speaker Paul Ryan says he will leave Congress in January: 'I have given this job everything I have'
  • NYT: E.P.A. Officials Sidelined After Questioning Scott Pruitt
  • CNN: Former Inhofe aide Wheeler confirmed as EPA's No. 2
  • Quartz: Mike Pompeo is warming up to manmade climate change
  • GTM: How Will Climate and Energy Play Into the 2018 Election?

Subscribe to the Political Climate podcast via Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher. Look out for us soon on Tune In and Spotify!

Follow Political Climate on Twitter @Poli_Climate.