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Green Group Calls for Whitman's Resignation

Conservation advocacy group Friends of the Earth called\r\non EPA Administrator Christie Whitman to resign, saying her\r\ncredibility at home and abroad is lost.

Conservation advocacy group Friends of the Earth Wednesday called on EPA Administrator Christie Whitman to resign, saying her credibility at home and abroad is lost.

In a letter to Whitman, the group said President Bush''s decision to unilaterally remove the United States from the Kyoto climate change treaty negotiations, and the recent White House policy reversals on the regulation of carbon dioxide and arsenic in drinking water have compromised Whitman.

"First, the Bush Administration destroyed her credibility on climate change. Then, in an astounding blow to public health, Administrator Whitman sent standards for arsenic in drinking water back to 1942," said Brent Blackwelder, Friends of Earth president.

As a matter of conscience, the groups urged the former New Jersey governor to step down.

There was no immediate response from EPA.

Whitman has been wounded most severely by Bush''s decision to reject a campaign promise and not work to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

Carbon emissions are blamed by many researchers for causing the global atmosphere to warm, resulting in increasingly erratic weather and threatening public health.

Whitman told American allies earlier this year that the administration would seek to change the limits on carbon, but in March, Bush said he changed his mind because of the current energy crisis.

Whitman on Tuesday met with European Union officials, telling them she stood firm with the administration''s decision to seek an alternative to the Kyoto treaty.

The pact includes provisions for major industrialized nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

Bush said the U.S. economy would be hurt by the Kyoto terms, and that it exempts 80 percent of the world from compliance.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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