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Project on Government Oversight

Letter to President-Elect Bush

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January 12, 2001

The Honorable George W. Bush
Bush-Cheney Presidential Transition Headquarters
1800 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20405

Dear President-Elect Bush:

Our organizations are writing to express dismay and alarm at the Environmental Protection Agency's recent treatment of its National Hazardous Waste and Superfund Ombudsman Office. The removal of that Office's sole investigator without the knowledge or consent from the Ombudsman; the current bar on the National Ombudsman to supervise any personnel or other resources; and the newly released draft Ombudsman guidance restricting investigations, demonstrate the lack of discretion and independence allowed that important office.

The very essence of an Ombudsman is to stand apart from the entrenched bureaucracy and to perform independent investigations at the request of elected officials and the public and private sector. Discretion over which cases an Ombudsman looks into is essential for the effectiveness of that office. Should the Ombudsman become subservient to the agency whose work he is meant to investigate, any of his decisions would become suspect thus compromising the legitimacy and integrity of the office.

We ask you to direct the next Administrator to provide a level of resources which the EPA National Ombudsman deems necessary to do his work, including but not limited to the reinstatement of staff, and to ensure that the Office is truly independent from manipulation by EPA management. We trust that, in the name of good government, you will let EPA Administrator-designate Whitman know of your support for this vital office.

Sincerely,

 
20/20 Vision
James Wyerman, Executive Director
Alaska Waveriders
Mike Macy, Director of Public Policy

Alberton Community Coalition for Environmental Health

Lucinda Hodges, Director
Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
Susan Gordon, Director

American Friends Service Committee Northeast Ohio Office

Greg Coleridge, Director, Economic Justice & Empowerment Program
American Lands Alliance
Steve Holmer, Campaign Coordinator

Arrest the Incinerator Remediation (AIR)

Vicki Smedley, Chair
Brio Superfund Site Community Group
Marie Flickinger, Chair

Chemical Weapons Working Group
Craig Williams, Director
Citizens Advisory Group
Mary Mosley, Acting Chair

Clean Air Council

Jeff Tober, Board Member
Clean Air Hotline
Dr. Richard H. Osborne, Barbara T. Osborne

Clean-It!

Jack Unruh, President
Cold Mountain, Cold Rivers
Darrell Geist, Executive Director

Common Ground

Naomi Schultz, Steering Committee
Concerned Citizens of Lake Township
Christine Borello, President

Cook Inlet Keeper
Bob Shavelson
Don't Waste Arizona
Stephen M. Brittle, President

Environmental Association for Great Lakes Education (EAGLE)

Craig Minowa, Projects Cooridinator
Friends of the Earth
Gawain Kripke, Director, Economic Campaigns

Glynn Environmental Coalition

Bob Drury, President
Government Accountabilty Project
Tom Devine, Legal Director

Grand Canyon Trust

Bill Hedden, Utah Conservation Director
Greenpeace
Rick Hind, Legislative Director, Greenpeace Toxics Campaign

GreenWatch USA
Bill Smedley, President
Kentucky Environmental Foundation
Peter Hille, Chair

Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation, Inc.

Aliki Moncrief, Staff Attorney
Marin Breast Cancer Watch
Francine Levien, Founder and Executive Director

Montana-CHEER
Tony Tweedale, Project Director
Mothers Organized to Stop Environmental Sins (M.O.S.E.S.)
Phyllis Glazer, President and Founder

Non-Stockpile Chemical Weapons Coalition

Elizabeth Crowe, Director
Ohio Citizen Action
Jennifer O'Donnell, Akron Area Director

Olympic Environmental Council

Darlene Schanfald, Rayonier Hazardous Waste Project Director
Overland Neighborhood Environmental Watch
Catherine Sandy, President

Pennsylvania Environmental Network

Vicki Smedley, President
PiPaTAG
Rose Mary Ammons, Vice President

Political Ecology Group

Sara Zimmerman, Board Member
Project On Government Oversight
Danielle Brian, Executive Director

Protect the Peninsula's Future

Eloise Kailin, President
Public Citizen
Joan Claybrook, President

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)

Jeff Ruch, Executive Director
Safe Food and Fertilizer
Patricia Anne Martin, Executive Director

Shenandoah County Alliance
Against Toxic Sludge, LLC

Charlotte Hughes, Secretary
Silver Valley People's Action Coalition
Barbara Miller, Director

Site Specific Advisory Board Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Sandra Jaquith, Spokesperson
Take Off Unknowns in Communities (TOXIC)
Inese Holte, Director of Communications

Trans Alaska Gas System Environmental Review Committee

Mike Macy, Coordinator
Tri-State Environmental Council
Terri Swearingen, Executive Director

United Parents Against Lead of North Carolina, Inc.

Kristin Joyner, Director
Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG)
Sarah O'Brien, Environmental Health Advocate

Washington Toxics Coalition

Laurie Valeriano, Policy Director
Waste Action Project
Greg Wingard, Executive Director

Waste Not

Ellen & Paul Connett, Editors
Working Group on Community Right to Know
Lisa Mosca, Coordinator

Alaska Forum For Environmental Responsibility

Ross Coen, Executive Director
Healing Our Mother Earth
Marta Salinas

The West County Toxics Coalition

Dr. Henry Clark

 

CC: EPW Committee

 

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