WHITMAN RESIGNS FROM EPA

EPA Administrator Christie Whitman met with President Bush at the White House May 20 and tendered her resignation as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, effective June 27, 2003.

What follows is the text of Administrator Whitman's resignation letter to President Bush:

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With gratitude for the opportunity to serve the American people in your Administration, I hereby tender my resignation as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, effective June 27, 2003.

It has been a singular honor to be entrusted with the responsibility to lead the EPA in its effort to leave America's air cleaner, its water purer, and its land better protected than it was when this Administration took office. Our work has been guided by the strong belief that environmental protection and economic prosperity can and must go hand-in-hand, that the true measure of the value of any environmental policy is in the environmental results it produces. I am pleased that the EPA has built an enviable record of success that will result in significant improvements to the state of our Nation's treasured environment.

America's air will be cleaner. Our actions to reduce pollution from nonroad diesel engines represent, in the words of one major environmental organization, the “biggest public health step” in more than 20 years. Our landmark Clean School Bus USA initiative means that every public school student in America should be riding low emission school buses by 2010. Our aggressive and effective efforts to enforce the Nation's environmental laws have achieved some of the largest Clean Air Act settlements in history. This record will only be enhanced by the eventual passage of the Administration's proposed Clear Skies Act of 2003, your far-reaching proposal to reduce pollution from the Nation's power plants.

America's water will be purer. EPA's Watershed Initiative is expanding watershed-based water protection policy across the country. The Agency's innovative Water Quality Trading program will help address the growing problem of nonpoint source pollution. EPA's plan for cleanup of the Hudson River has set a new standard for restoring waterways that have been threatened by decades of abuse. Improvements to the rules governing Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations will protect surface water by requiring reductions of at least 25 percent in runoff of nitrogen and phosphorous from those large agricultural operations.

America's land will be better protected. Our success in enacting long-overdue brownfields legislation is already accelerating the reclamation of abandoned parcels of land in hundreds of communities across America. The enactment of this legislation, after nearly a decade of partisan wrangling, is a testament to your commitment to change the way things are done in Washington.

In addition, the Agency has played a key role in responding to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11th and the subsequent anthrax attack and in promoting the security of our homeland. The work EPA did in the aftermath of those attacks will long be a proud chapter in this Agency's history. As the federal lead for protecting the Nation's water infrastructure and the chemical industry, we also have added significantly to efforts to reduce the vulnerability of those sectors to terrorist attack.

I am proud of the work this Agency has done and of the contributions it has made to the success of your Administration. The people who serve our country as employees of the EPA are as dedicated and as committed a group as can be found in federal service. It has been a true honor to be able to lead this Agency as it worked to implement the innovative, effective environmental policies to which you are so clearly committed.

As rewarding as the past two-and-a-half years have been for me professionally, it is time to return to my home and husband in New Jersey, which I love just as you do your home state of Texas. I leave knowing that we have made a positive difference and that we have set the Agency on a course that will result in continued environmental improvement. Please accept my deepest thanks for the opportunity to serve our country in your Administration and my every good wish for continued success in leading the Nation in these challenging times.

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