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Profile: Robert J. Martin

 
  

Positions that Robert J. Martin has held:

  • National Ombudsman for Hazardous and Solid Waste


 

Quotes

 
  

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Robert J. Martin actively participated in the following events:

 
  

October 18, 1992      Environmental Impact

       The EPA hires Robert J. Martin as the agency's National Ombudsman (see November 24, 1984). [US Senate, 6/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: Robert J. Martin, Environmental Protection Agency
          

January 3, 2001      Environmental Impact

       The EPA publishes a “Draft Guidance for the National Hazardous Waste Ombudsman and the Regional Superfund Ombudsmen Program,” which attempts to “clarify” the National Ombudsman's function. [US Senate, 6/25/2002 Sources: Federal Register, Vol 66, No. 2, 1/3/2001] The current ombudsman, Robert Martin, argues that the guidelines are actually designed to limit the scope of the ombudsman's authority, by placing the office under the authority of the head of Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER), an EPA division the ombudsman may investigate. [The Washington Post, 11/29/2001]
People and organizations involved: Robert J. Martin, Environmental Protection Agency
          

(September 28, 2001)      Environmental Impact

       National Ombudsman Robert Martin sends a memorandum to EPA Administrator Christie Whitman suggesting that the agency implement the recommendations in the General Accounting Office's July 2001 report (see July 27, 2001). He advises against a proposal under consideration that would move his office to the Office of Inspector General (OIG). He argues that doing so would not increase the ombudsman's independence and notes that the ombudsman's mission is very different than the OIG's. [Martin, 11/26/2001; US Senate, 6/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG), General Accounting Office (GAO), Christine Todd Whitman, Robert J. Martin
          

Morning November 27, 2001      Environmental Impact

       EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman announces that the National Ombudsman Office will be relocated to the EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) and that control of all National Ombudsman cases will be likewise transferred to the OIG. She claims the change “will give the ombudsman more independence and the impartiality necessary to conduct credible inquiries.” [EPA, 11/27/2001] The planned change would give the EPA OIG authority to exercise editorial control over the ombudsman's comments if they concern criminal investigations. [Associated Press, 4/8/2002] Additionally, under the plan the EPA OIG would decide which cases are investigated. Decisions regarding budgets and staff would also be handled by the OIG. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 4/23/02] Ombudsman Robert Martin vehemently objects to the plan, telling The Washington Post in an interview that putting his office under the OIG would effectively dissolve the national ombudsman function at the EPA. “I translate that as the IG is taking over my cases. They're going to review and determine whether complaints citizens have made have merit,” Martin explains. “They're going to be doing my job.” [The Washington Post, 11/29/2001; Associated Press, 4/8/2002]
People and organizations involved: Christine Todd Whitman, Robert J. Martin, EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG)
          

January 7, 2002      Environmental Impact

       EPA National Ombudsman Robert Martin agrees to investigate the World Trade Center environmental case at the request of US Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York. [US Senate, 6/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: Jerrold Nadler, Robert J. Martin
          

January 10, 2002      Environmental Impact

       EPA National Ombudsman Robert Martin and the Government Accountability Project (GAP) file a lawsuit challenging EPA Administrator Christie Whitman's plan to relocate the ombudsman's office to the EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) (see Morning November 27, 2001). [Associated Press, 1/10/02]
People and organizations involved: Government Accountability Project (GAP), Christine Todd Whitman, Robert J. Martin
          

March 11th, 2002      Environmental Impact

       Doug Lair, the supervisor of EPA On Scene Coordinator Charlie Fitzsimmon, in a letter to EPA National Ombudsman Robert Martin, claims that Fitzsimmons spent only “two weeks in New York City in September” and that “he has minimal knowledge of the World Trade Center response activities conducted beyond the two weeks he spent there.” [Martin, 3/27/2002] This statement contradicts evidence that Fitzsimmons and another OSC were actually at the WTC site for a longer period of time (see October 5, 2001) (see October 9, 2001-October 19, 2001).
People and organizations involved: Doug Lair, Charlie Fitzsimmons, Robert J. Martin
          

March 27, 2002      Environmental Impact

       The EPA's National Ombudsman's office publishes a report criticizing the EPA's response to the contamination that was caused by the destruction of the World Trade Center. Robert J. Martin, the EPA National Ombudsman, finds that the “EPA has neither fully used its legal authorities nor its existing hazardous materials response capabilities as a leader of the National Response System to aid the victims of the terrorist attack....” [Sources: Findings and Recommendations to Date, 3/27/2002]
Observations -
The EPA “initiated the National Contingency Plan (NCP) by mobilizing EPA On-Scene Coordinators (OSCs) [from various locations in the US to work] in Lower Manhattan (see (8:50 a.m. EST) September 11, 2001) to sample indoor and outdoor air, dust and water to, among other things, determine the levels of contamination.”
“[T]he United States Geological Survey (USGS) testified that the plume of contaminated dust from the attacks was highly caustic with pH readings at least as high as 12.1 (see September 20, 2001).”
“The Director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has concluded that all dust from the World Trade Center attack must be presumed to be asbestos containing material (ACM) (see January 31, 2002).”
“During the last thirty years as a leader of the National Response System, EPA has used the National Contingency Plan as a framework to perform indoor air testing and remediation where there have been releases of hazardous material into homes, schools, and/or offices throughout the United States.”
Conclusions -
“A clear reading of the definition of hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), leads to the reasonable conclusion that all of the material, released from the attack may be a hazardous waste.”
“[A]ny cleanup of this dust, should have been and must now be performed in Ml compliance with the OSHA regulations including but not limited to 29 CFR 1910 and 1926.”
“The EPA is not being honest about the presence of EPA On Scene-Coordinators in New York (see October 5, 2001) (see October 9, 2001-October 19, 2001) (see March 11th, 2002).”
“EPA has not fully discharged its duties under PDD (Presidential Directive) 62 (see November 28, 2001), the National Contingency Plan (NCP) (see 1972), and the 2001 OMB Annual Report to Congress on Combating Terrorism (see August 2001). EPA has abandoned its responsibilities for cleaning up buildings (both inside and out) that are contaminated, or that are being re-contaminated, as a result of the uncontrolled chemical releases from the World Trade Center terrorist attack.”
Recommendations -
“EPA Region II should, pursuant to authorities under Presidential Directive PDD 62, and the National Contingency Plan (NCF) immediately clean the ducts and upgrade the ventilation systems to install high efficiency filtration at the Stuyvesant High School during spring break.”
“EPA Region II should execute authorities under Presidential Directive PDB 62, the National Contingency Plan (NCP), and consistent with Administrator Whitman's statement in Libby, Montana four days before the World Trade Center terrorist attack, issue legal guarantees to all building owners, building managers, local businesses, the New York City Board of Education, and condominium and coop owners to protect them from assuming the costs of cleanup from the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.”
“Consistent with Presidential Directive PDD 62, the National Contingency Plan (NCP), and Administrator Whitman's statement in Libby, Montana four days before the World Trade Center terrorist attack, EPA Region II should cleanup all impacted buildings (interiors and exteriors) in conjunction with corresponding remediation at ‘ground zero.’ ”
People and organizations involved: Robert J. Martin, Environmental Protection Agency
          

(April 19, 2002)      Environmental Impact

       The EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) changes the locks to the office of National Ombudsman Robert Martin while he is away on official travel and sick leave. The contents of the office—computers, phones and the files of pending cases—are removed. [US Senate, 6/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: Robert J. Martin, EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG)
          

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