Last year, Alberto Gonzales resigned from his post atop the Justice Department amid several controversies, chief among them his role in the unprecedented midterm dismissal of seven United States Attorneys for their disloyalty to the Bush Administration. If you find Gonzales...
Last year, Alberto Gonzales resigned from his post atop the Justice Department amid several controversies, chief among them his role in the unprecedented midterm dismissal of seven United States Attorneys for their disloyalty to the Bush Administration. If you find Gonzales' politicization of one of the government's most important agencies detestable, you might want to learn more about Stephen Johnson, who Think Progress has dubbed "The Environment's Alberto Gonzales":
Now all eyes are turning to Stephen L. Johnson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — set up by President Nixon in 1970 to be an independent watchdog for the health of the environment and the American people. It has become clear that Johnson has subverted that mission, in contravention of science, ethics, and the law. What Gonzales did to Justice, Johnson is doing to the EPA.
As The Chicago Tribune reported yesterday, Johnson recently turned his attention to the top environmental regulator in the Midwest, the EPA's largest regional office:
The Bush administration forced its top environmental regulator in the Midwest to quit Thursday after months of internal bickering about dioxin contamination downstream from Dow Chemical's world headquarters in Michigan.
In an interview with the Tribune, Mary Gade said two top political appointees at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington stripped her of her powers as regional administrator and told her to quit or be fired by June 1.
Why was she fired? It couldn't have been because she was unfit for duty. Johnson himself said upon her appointment in 2006 that "Mary is well-prepared to lead the Agency's largest regional office." And it's not because she's a godless, blue state Democrat. In 2000, she called herself a "Republican and a supporter of Texas Governor George W. Bush" because he "put together a stronger bipartisan record on conservation and the environment than Al Gore has in twenty-plus years in Washington, D.C."
No, the real reason for her departure would appear to be her role in prosecuting Dow for their refusal to clean up dioxin-saturated soil and sediment in Michigan. The Tribune explains:
Though regional EPA administrators typically have wide latitude to enforce environmental laws, Gade drew fire from officials in Washington last month after she sent contractors to test soil in a Saginaw neighborhood where Dow had found high dioxin levels.
She said top lieutenants to Stephen Johnson, the national EPA administrator, repeatedly questioned her aggressive action against Dow, which long ago acknowledged it is responsible for the dioxin contamination but has resisted federal and state involvement in cleanup plans.
(Hat tip: Grist)