Environmentalists Blast White House Nominee to Head EPA
Interview with Lawson LeGate, of the Sierra Club, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
Recent public opinion polls have revealed that a majority of Americans are unhappy with the way the Bush administration is handling the nation's environment. From oil and gas extraction on public lands to preservation of endangered salmon in western rivers to arsenic in drinking water and mercury in the air, many people feel environmental protection in the U.S. has become an oxymoron. Bush's director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Christie Todd Whitman, resigned this summer after two-and-a-half years of losing most battles to two of the most powerful oilmen in the country, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
On Aug. 12, President Bush nominated three-term Republican Gov. Mike Leavitt of Utah to replace Whitman at the EPA. Bush praised Leavitt as a consensus-builder and pointed to his bipartisan work to improve air quality in the Grand Canyon. Like Bush, Leavitt wants to shift pollution control from the federal government to the states, and he favors voluntary environmental compliance over mandatory regulation. Industry leaders are pleased with Bush's choice while environmental advocates are not. They say Leavitt has a weak record on protecting Utah's land, water, and air, and fear he will further undermine federal environmental protections.
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Lawson LeGate, a senior Sierra Club staffer in Utah, about Leavitt's environmental record and what might be expected of Leavitt if he wins Senate confirmation to the EPA post.
For more information on why the Sierra Club opposes Leavitt's nomination, call (415) 977-5500 or visit the group's website at www.sierraclub.org.
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