Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Tuesday for the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency, which he wants to replace with a new organization that would work more closely with businesses and be more aggressive in using science and technology.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Gingrich said the EPA was rarely innovative and focused only on issuing regulations and litigation.

“What you have is a very expensive bureaucracy that across the board makes it harder to solve problems, slows down the development of new innovations,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich, who has acknowledged that he’s mulling a run for the Republican presidential nomination, was in Iowa to talk to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. He also met privately with Republican legislators, often a sign in Iowa that people are laying the groundwork for a campaign. The state has the nation’s first presidential caucuses.

Gingrich, who has made several visits to Iowa recently, said the EPA was founded on sound ideas but has become a traditional Washington bureaucracy. Gingrich had previously mentioned his desire to change the EPA, but Tuesday’s explanation was the first time he made a specific proposal for replacing the agency, Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said.

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