May 21, 2008

Whitehouse Votes to Reject Bush Appointee for Top Legal Job at EPA

Whitehouse: No Confidence that Hill Will Provide Transparent, Apolitical Leadership

Washington, D.C. – In an expression of strong concern over the infiltration of politics into environmental regulation and policy, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) joined a majority of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee today to reject President Bush’s nominee to serve as general counsel for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Committee’s vote was 10 – 9 against David Hill, who now serves as general counsel of the Department of Energy. Whitehouse said Hill’s testimony before the committee and his responses to follow-up questions displayed a lack of candor and failure of leadership.

“EPA is in crisis. Its own career employees, as well as the public at large, believe its leadership has let politics trump its longstanding commitment to protecting the environment and the public health,” Whitehouse said. “At this time, more than ever, we need leadership at EPA that will promote transparent decision-making that is immune both from political interference and from judicial ridicule. I have no confidence that Mr. Hill will provide such leadership at EPA.”

Whitehouse, a former Rhode Island U.S. Attorney and Attorney General, has helped lead the EPW Committee’s investigation into the politicization of decision-making at EPA. He chaired a hearing earlier this month to hear testimony from George Gray, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Research and Development, and a panel of scientists. Gray refused to respond to concerns raised by scientists and policymakers that political considerations have dictated decision-making at the agency.


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