Former EPA Chief Says She Quit Because of Cheney

This post, written by John Byrne, originally appeared on Raw Story

Christine Todd Whitman is the media darling of talk shows, the conservative former governor of New Jersey and head of President George W. Bush's Environmental Protection Agency who quit the Bush Administration to "spend more time with her family."

Evidently, that's not true.

In a groundbreaking article today by the Washington Post, the paper alleges that Whitman left the Administration because they pressured her to accept pro-industry coal power plant rules which threatened ghoulish levels of air pollution.

After industry officials complained to Vice President Cheney about Clinton-era rules requiring plants to update their technology when they conducted routine maintenance to comply with air quality standards, Cheney turned to Whitman, she said.

Whitman told the Post she'd "been stunned by what she viewed as an unquestioned belief that EPA's regulations were primarily to blame for keeping companies from building new power plants."

"I was upset, mad, offended that there seemed to be so much head-nodding around the table," she said. She said she had to fight "tooth and nail" to keep Cheney from turning over the rewriting of the rules to the Energy Department.

Whitman says she wanted a return to Bush's "Clear Skies" initiative, but that went nowhere.

Whitman brought two folders to show President Bush. The first was 2 1/2 inches thick, detailing the dangers of raising legal levels of arsenic in drinking water -- another Administration proposal. She pointed to a folder she'd brought "four or five times as thick."

"If you think arsenic was bad," she recalled telling Bush, "look at what has already been written about this."

Nothing changed. After the EPA rewrote the coal power plant standards, the White House essentially rewrote the rules to favor industry. Whitman said she'd had enough.

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