EPA Restarts Dow Dioxin Cleanup Process

Posted by Wonk Room Sun, 08 Mar 2009 18:13:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

EPA administrator “Lisa Jackson has ordered the Great Lakes office of EPA to stop negotiations with the Dow Chemical company – begun in the last days of the Bush administration – over controversial dioxin cleanup in the Saginaw Bay watershed.” The Wonk Room reported in May 2008 how regional EPA administrator Mary Gade, in a scandal reminiscent of Alberto Gonzales’s firing of U.S. Attorneys, was pushed out by Bush appointees for her efforts to make Dow Chemical clean up its century-old toxic waste. As a Center for American Progress fellow, Clinton EPA official Robert Sussman called her firing “highly irregular”:
If her only sin was zeal in protecting the public, firing her was wrong and will send a troubling message to EPA employees all across the country who are trying to do their jobs. Clearly, it’s up to Steve Johnson to explain why he fired Mary and up to Congress to investigate the circumstances.

Despite Congressional inquiries, Administrator Johnson never explained the firing, and only left his post when Bush left office. Now, however, Sussman – who supervised Obama’s EPA transition team – is the EPA’s senior policy counsel. According to the Michigan Messenger’s Eartha Jane Melzer, “Jackson also stated that newly appointed advisor, Robert Sussman, would provide oversight on the matter.”