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E-M:/ FW: Christie Todd Whitman Quits - AP story:



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Enviro-Mich message from "Rita Jack" <rita.jack@sierraclub.org>
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EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman Resigns
Resignation Effective June 27


By John Heilprin
The Associated Press
Wednesday, May 21, 2003; 10:22 AM


Christine Todd Whitman, often at odds with the Bush White House over
environmental issues and a lightning rod for the administration's
critics,
resigned Wednesday as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Whitman said in a letter to President Bush that she was leaving to spend
time with family. "As rewarding as the past two-and-a-half years have
been
for me professionally, it is time to return to my home and husband in
New
Jersey, which I love just as you do your home state of Texas," she wrote
Bush.

With Whitman's departure as EPA administrator, Bush loses one of the
most
prominent women in his Cabinet - a moderate former New Jersey governor
selected by the president to help soften his image as a political
conservative, particularly on environmental issues. Whitman had a
history of
clashing with the White House, starting with the president's abrupt
decision
to withdraw from the international global warming treaty. She had been
the
administration's point person in rolling back environmental protections
initiated by previous administrations.

As his re-election campaign gears up, Bush's senior staff and advisers
consider the next few months as optimum time to leave the government;
otherwise, they will be expected to remain aboard until after the 2004
election. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer announced Monday
that he
will resign in July. Bush will be under pressure to replace Whitman with
a
nominee who will acceptable to his GOP supporters without alienating
swing
voters who tend to be wary of Republicans on the environment.

Whitman, a former New Jersey governor, said her resignation is effective
June 27. She met with Bush at the White House on Tuesday afternoon to
inform
him of her decision, the agency said.

Whitman, in her letter, defended the administration's environmental
policies
which have been under attack by environmentalists as a series of
rollbacks
in protecting the nation's air, water and land. "Our work has been
guided by
the strong belief that environmental protection and economic prosperity
can
and must go hand-in-hand," she wrote. "The EPA has built an enviable
record
of success that will result in significant improvements to the state of
our
nation's treasured environment."

She pointed to initiatives to reduce pollution from off-road diesel
engines,
a push to cut pollution from school buses and "our aggressive and
effective
efforts to enforce the nation's environmental laws." She said she was
proud
of the EPA work under her leadership.

Whitman, 56, joined the administration after seven years as governor of
New
Jersey, where she made preservation a priority but never managed to
convince
environmentalists she was one of them. Critics said that in the name of
attracting businesses, she compromised water pollution protections and
cut
spending for state offices that prosecute environmental abuses by
industry.

Whitman, an avid mountain biker and skier, insisted she retained needed
protections while eliminating red tape. When the Bush administration
took
office, Whitman had only the briefest honeymoon. Within the first three
months, she had upset industry executives and conservationists,
disappointed
moderates who like her and angered conservatives who don't.

The conservation group Friends of the Earth wasted little time in urging
her
to resign, saying that Bush's decisions on the environment had
undermined
her credibility. But Whitman stood steadfastly behind Bush, even when
their
own disagreements became public.

As she did while New Jersey governor, Whitman frequently hit the road
for
official as well as political trips around the country. But she said her
goal was to spend weekends, when possible, back home in New Jersey.
"It's
important for my sanity," she said.

C 2003 The Associated Press



Ken Midkiff
Director, Sierra Club Clean Water Campaign
1007 N. College Ave.
Columbia, MO  65201

Ph: 573-256-5705
FAX: 573-256-8816

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