Donald Schregardus, the Bush administration''s pick to be EPA''s top enforcement officer, has decided to withdraw his name from consideration.
Schregardus asked President Bush in a letter to withdraw his name from consideration for one of EPA''s top jobs after the nomination ran into opposition from two senators that placed "holds" on the nomination.
The nomination could have potentially been tied up for months because the full Senate cannot vote on a matter until the holds are lifted.
Earlier this month, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., essentially forced an unwilling EPA to release a report that was highly critical of several Ohio environmental programs, some of them supervised by Schregardus, the former administrator of Ohio''s Environmental Protection Agency from 1991 through 1999. Boxer is one of the Senators who placed a hold on the nomination.
The report, which covers the years 1995-2000, appeared to substantiate some of the criticisms of the nominee, voiced by environmentalists and Senate Democrats. For example, according to the EPA report, under Schregardus Ohio''s EPA was so under-staffed that it was unable to enforce federal Clean Air Act effectively. In recent years there were declines in air inspections, investigations of complaints and amounts of penalties collected.
The report also found several other problems with Ohio''s EPA, and it clearly embarrassed the Bush administration and EPA, which rallied to try to save the Schregardus nomination. EPA Administrator Christie Whitman wrote in a letter that Schregardus had an "impressive record" of achievement in Ohio.
by Virginia Foran and James Nash