WASHINGTON -- December 13 -- Whoever is appointed to replace Mike Leavitt as EPA Administrator faces several crucial challenges left unfinished. Leavitt oversaw EPA at a time when the Bush administration stuck to its agenda of weakening clean air and water protections, and establishing inadequate mercury standards. In the last four years, the EPA has wasted many opportunities to protect the public's health and safety--and has instead often questioned science and disregarded public comment.
The most recent failure occurred this past weekend when Leavitt was ordered to delay the Clean Air Interstate Rule which could have been strengthened to protect communities from soot and smog pollution. As we said when Christine Todd Whitman resigned as EPA administrator, "Given the administration's track record on the environment, we have little hope that President Bush's next EPA Administrator will be allowed do a better job of cutting pollution and keeping families safe.
Other key failures of the Bush administration's EPA include:
- Breaking the campaign promise to curb carbon dioxide, which causes global warming.
- Weakening the Clean Air Act to allow more power-plant pollution.
- Opposing efforts to make polluters pay for cleanup of their toxic waste sites.
- Initially opposing efforts to reduce the amount of arsenic in our drinking water before public outcry forced a reversal.
- Proposing to allow additional sewage overflows--increasing the risk of drinking water contamination
There's a better way. The EPA could make communities cleaner and safer by:
- Making polluters pay to clean up toxic waste
- Strengthening and enforcing the existing Clean Air Act to clean up power plants and other factories with existing technology
- Enforcing the Clean Water Act to protect wetlands and drinking water sources