The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Lindsey M. Williams (202) 342-1903

NWC Calls on EPA to Oust Civil Rights Director


Today, the National Whistleblowers Center released an open letter to Lisa Jackson the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the racial and sexual discriminatory conduct of the newly appointed director of the EPA's Office of Civil Rights (OCR), Rafael DeLeon and calling for his immediate dismissal.

A recent Deloitte Consultant Report found that the EPA's Office of Civil Rights was essentially dysfunctional. However, the person hired to "fix" the office, Mr. DeLeon, has had numerous complaints filed against him by women. In fact, Mr. DeLeon fired former EPA employee and NWC Board of Director's Member Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo.

The NWC was alerted that during a recent Agency-wide conference call, Mr. DeLeon bragged about actions taken against two senior female civil rights leaders and called the women by the derogatory term "pink elephants." During the same conference call, Mr. DeLeon also attempted to humiliate and destroy the reputation of Dr. Coleman-Adebayo by disparagingly referring to her as "the Rosa Parks of EPA."

Richard Renner, Legal Director of the National Whistleblowers Center called Mr. DeLeon's denigration of the late Rosa Parks "irreverent and inexcusable" and demonstrates "his utter contempt for the women named and the 9,000 women currently serving in EPA's labor force."

The letter explains additional improper actions by Mr. DeLeon.

Mr. Renner called for immediate action by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson:

In light of the Deloitte Report and the disclosures here about Mr. DeLeon's behavior and remarks, you must make a pivotal decision about the direction of EPA's OCR. We call on you to make a clean break from the past. We call on you to make a decision that visibly rejects discrimination, retaliation, and intimidation. We call on you to bring in fresh air and create an atmosphere where any conscientious employee can raise concerns about waste, fraud, abuse and discrimination. We need your decisive leadership to end the paralysis of silence.

Since 1988, the NWC and attorneys associated with it have supported whistleblowers in the courts and before Congress and achieved victories for environmental protection, government contract fraud, nuclear safety and government and corporate accountability.