Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Statement Of Senator John Kerry, Regarding: Nomination Hearing of Governor Michael Leavitt to Head the EPA
Wednesday, September 24, 2003

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator John Kerry today issued the following statement regarding the nomination hearing for Governor Michael Leavitt for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency:

“From the air we breathe to the water we drink, the environment is worse off under the Bush Administration. I have a number of outstanding issues with the EPA, but there are two, in particular, that I believe warrant immediate attention. I will place a hold on Governor Leavitt’s nomination until I receive a sufficient response as to how this Administration will address my concerns over these two issues.

“First, in July 2003, the EPA announced that it would be delaying cleanup of ten Superfund sites. One of the sites is in my home state – Atlas Tack in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. The Atlas Tack Superfund site contains cyanide, heavy metals, pesticides, and PCBs. Some 7,000 people live within a one mile of the site. Yet, for the second year in a row, the Bush Administration has provided exactly zero dollars for cleanup. This is only as outrageous as it is emblematic of the environmental priorities of the Bush Administration.

“People in communities like Fairhaven, who live with the Atlas Tack Superfund site in their backyard, should not be told that they’re just going to have to live with the cyanide and PCBs because for the second year in a row EPA just can’t find the monetary resources to help them. And they shouldn’t be stuck with an Administration that can’t do a better job protecting our nation’s public health and the health of the environment from toxic waste. They deserve better and this Administration must articulate how they are going to do right by the people of Fairhaven.

“Second, Senator Clinton has requested information surrounding revelations that the White House edited EPA public announcements regarding the air pollution and air quality near Ground Zero following the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Her requests have gone unanswered. This is a serious issue that has consequences not only for citizens of New York, but also for the quality of our environment and the trust in our government.

“The unfortunate truth is that it doesn’t matter who heads the EPA under this Administration, because they will be nothing more than another pawn for the corporate polluters who control the White House’s agenda. Governor Leavitt may eventually be approved by the Senate, but I cannot in good conscience allow that process to even move forward without getting the answers that the people of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, New York City, and communities across the nation deserve.”


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