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E-M:/ Whitman (not Harding) to Head US EPA



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Enviro-Mich message from Karlin Mai Danielsen <danielse@engin.umich.edu>
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Hello Friends,
It looks like the nightmare of Harding heading the US EPA, will not
materialize after all.  I just recieved word from a friend who works at
the US EPA that Gov. Christie Whitman has been offered and accepted the
position. (see below)


> WHITMAN TO HEAD EPA > 
> 
>  12/20/00
> 
> 
>  BY RON MARSICO AND JOE DONOHUE
>  STAR-LEDGER STAFF
> 
> 
>  Gov. Christie Whitman has accepted President-elect George W.
>  Bush's offer to head the Environmental Protection Agency and
>  will cut short her second term in the Trenton Statehouse, sources in
both the Whitman and the Bush camps said last night.
> 
> 
>  If she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, the state's
> 50th
>  governor and its first female chief executive will
> leave
>  Trenton a year before her term ends. Her departure
> would create
>  a rare opportunity for Senate President Donald
> DiFrancesco, who
>  would assume the position of acting governor just
> as he is
>  gearing up his campaign for next year's
> gubernatorial election.
> 
> 
>  Bush was expected to officially name Whitman to the
> post by
>  week's end, sources said.
> 
> 
>  "Done deal," said one knowledgeable New Jersey
> Republican.
> 
> 
>  Whitman, 54, met with the president-elect's
> transition team in
>  Washington on Monday to discuss the EPA
> appointment, according
>  to sources.
> 
> 
>  "I'm not commenting on anything I did or didn't do
> yesterday
>  (Monday)," Whitman said yesterday during interviews
> at the
>  Statehouse.
> 
> 
>  Whitman had sought the U.S. ambassadorship to the
> United
>  Nations as her first job choice in the incoming
> Bush
>  administration, but sources said the
> president-elect and his
>  transition team preferred that she take the EPA
> spot.
> 
> 
>  One of the nation's leading moderate Republicans
> and the
>  party's staunchest abortion-rights proponent,
> Whitman could
>  have been vulnerable to attacks by social
> conservatives if she
>  had been nominated for the U.N. job, which involves
>  controversial world population issues.
> 
> 
>  In conversations with campaign officials,
> evangelist Rev. Jerry
>  Falwell had warned Bush that Whitman's support of
> abortion
>  rights should disqualify her from judgeships or
> from Cabinet
>  posts with heavy responsibility for social policy,
> including
>  the Justice, Health or Education departments.
> 
> 
>  "Governor Whitman will have zero voice on social
> policy at
>  EPA," Falwell said. "I don't mean that in a
> negative way. She's
>  a great administrator. She's done great things for
> New Jersey."
> 
> 
>  A Republican strategist added that naming Whitman
> to the EPA is
>  a logical political move by Bush.
> 
> 
>  "She can be pro-choice and pro-affirmative action,
> and it's not
>  going to affect her job one bit," said Lyn
> Nofziger, an aide to
>  former President Ronald Reagan who helped Whitman
> on her 1997
>  re-election campaign.
> 
> 
>  For years, Whitman has come under fire from
> environmentalists
>  who contend she often has put the interests of
> business ahead
>  of those involving the environment.
> 
> 
>  While refusing to comment on her future yesterday,
> Whitman
>  offered a vigorous defense of her environmental
> record.
> 
> 
>  "Some of the local, the state, environmental people
> won't be
>  satisfied until you know we're 100 percent pure,
> and we're
>  human beings living here, so we're never going to
> achieve
>  that," said Whitman, defending her record, which
> includes a
>  program to save 1 million acres of open space and
> stopping the
>  dumping of tainted dredge spoils off Sandy Hook.
> 
> 
> 
>  "I appreciate the idea that you have to have strong
> advocates
>  out there pushing constantly," Whitman said. "But I
> think we
>  also have to recognize there is a balance here."
> 
> 
>  The appointment would likely bring to an end
> Whitman's long run
>  as the dominant force in New Jersey politics. Her
> political
>  fortunes have been a source of endless speculation
> almost from
>  the day she first set foot in the Statehouse nearly
> seven years
>  ago.
> 
> 
>  Whitman's Republican pedigree is well-documented.
> Her father
>  served as state Republican chairman and her mother
> was a
>  national GOP committeewoman. Whitman's elevation to
> the EPA
>  post would return her to Washington, where she
> worked for the
>  U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity and the
> Republican National
>  Committee after graduating from college in 1968.
> 
> 
>  The EPA is responsible for overseeing the nation's
> air, land
>  and water resources. It is not a Cabinet-level job,
> but it is
>  one of the nation's top agency posts.
> 
> 
>  Whitman would succeed Carol Browner, who was
> appointed in 1993
>  by President Clinton and is the longest-serving
> administrator
>  in EPA history.
> 
> 
>  The EPA is divided into 10 regions, with more than
> 18,000
>  full-time employees and an annual budget of more
> than $7.2
>  billion.
> 
> 
>  "That's not a bad appointment," said David
> Norcross, one of New
>  Jersey's two representatives to the Republican
> National
>  Committee.
> 
> 
>  "I guess the tree-huggers would probably say she is
> not their
>  favorite," said Norcross, noting that Whitman has
> at times
>  upset the business community, as well. "Anybody
> who's doing
>  that job has got to irritate both sides from time
> to time."
> 
> 
>  Some of Whitman's supporters have feared that her
> appointment
>  might hit a potential snag because New Jersey
> Democrats might
>  want to keep her in the Statehouse and deprive
> DiFrancesco of
>  the political boost he would get as acting
> governor.
> 
> 
>  U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.) said the
> Whitman
>  appointment is "inevitable" and, no matter where
> opposition
>  comes from, he is determined to ensure Whitman is
> confirmed.
> 
> 
>  "I've made clear my willingness to advance her
> candidacy in the
>  Senate," said Torricelli. He also said he would
> work to keep
>  social conservatives from blocking her.
> 
> 
>  "I'm prepared that if people from the extreme right
> of the
>  Republican Party from other regions of the country
> are prepared
>  to defeat Christie Whitman, I will find more than
> enough
>  Democrats to compensate," Torricelli said. "I am
> not going to
>  serve as the senior senator from New Jersey and
> have the
>  governor of my state defeated in the Senate."
> 
> 
>  Steve Some, a lobbyist and Republican consultant,
> said he did
>  not fear GOP U.S. senators would take on Whitman.
> 
> 
>  "The Senate majority leader (Trent Lott) has
> already stated
>  that she has a lot to offer this administration,"
> Some said.
>  "If it is EPA, she's going to have a lot to
> contribute to New
>  Jersey and the Northeast."
> 
> 
>  Star-Ledger staff writer Josh Margolin and
> Star-Ledger wire
>  services contributed to this report.
> 
> 
> Sara Rasmussen
> U.S. EPA
> 703-308-8399
> 
> 





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