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ENVIRONMENT REPORT – June 6, 2003:  EPA Chief Resigns - 2003-06-05

This is the VOA Special English Environment Report.

The chief of the United States Environmental Protection Agency has announced her resignation. Christine Todd Whitman says she will leave office on June twenty-seventh.

Missus Whitman was serving as governor of New Jersey when President Bush chose her as E-P-A administrator. The United States Senate confirmed her nomination in January of two-thousand-one.

Among her major successes was to order the company, General Electric, to pay to remove poisonous chemical waste from an eastern river. Two General Electric factories along the Hudson River released the waste into the water for many years. Missus Whitman also won approval for new rules to help cut pollutants created by the use of diesel fuel.

However, she found herself in a difficult situation when President Bush rejected the Kyoto treaty on global warming in two-thousand-one. She had said the president would keep a campaign promise to act on carbon dioxide releases by power stations. But Mister Bush said he could not support the treaty at a time of economic weakness and an energy crisis.

The E-P-A head faced a lot of criticism at times. For example, critics say the E-P-A failed to quickly and fully deal with the environmental damage from the terrorist attacks on New York City on September eleventh, two-thousand-one.

Missus Whitman is leaving without completing work on a major environmental proposal by the administration. The Clear Skies measure is designed to reduce the release of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury from power production centers.

Still, Missus Whitman says she is pleased with the record of the Environmental Protection Agency during her time there. She says she wants to return to New Jersey and spend more time with her husband.

President Bush praised her as a tireless fighter for new policies for cleaner air, purer water and better protected land. And he called her a trusted friend and adviser.

The Bush administration reportedly is considering several possible replacements for Christine Whitman. The possible nominees are said to include John Engler, the former governor of Michigan, and Josephine Cooper. She is the president and chief executive officer of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

This VOA Special English Environment Report was written by Caty Weaver.