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."Why the FUCK is this only just now coming out? This is the kind of shit that infuriates me, finding out these sorts of things long after the fact. Protect the administration at the expense of everything and everyone else. I know, I know, that's the way this game is played and this is completely typical behavior on their part - but still....
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.
"I just couldn't sign it," she told the Post. "The president has a right to have an administrator who could defend it, and I just couldn't."
Soon thereafter, a federal appeals court found that the rule change violated the Clean Air Act -- according to the paper, the judges said the administration had redefined the law in a way that could be valid "only in a Humpty-Dumpty world."