EPA Regulatory Director Resigns, Cites Frustration with Bush Administration, Eric Schaeffer, Grist Magazine
The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory
enforcement office submitted his letter of resignation on February
27, citing his frustration with the Bush Administration's attempts
to weaken environmental laws. Eric Schaeffer, who spent the past
five years as director of the Office of Regulatory Enforcement,
railed against large power companies that violated the Clean Air
Act and dumped 7 million tons of sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide
into the air last year alone. 'Fifteeen months ago, it looked as
though our lawsuits were going to shrink these dismal statistics,'
Schaeffer wrote. 'Yet today, we seem about to snatch defeat from
the jaws of victory.' Schaeffer cited Bush's '90-day review' of
environmental laws -- ongoing now for more than a year -- as a
hurdle to prosecuting major corporations who violate the laws.
Proposed budget cuts would also leave the EPA 'desperately short'
of the resources needed to bring suit against large corporations,
and would lead to cuts in staff. 'I wish you well in your efforts
to persuade the Administration to put our enforcement actions back
on course,' he wrote to EPA Administrator Christine Whitman. 'By
showing that powerful utility interests are not exempt from that
principle, you will prove to EPA's staff that their faith in the
Agency's mission is not in vain.'