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Profile: Christine Todd Whitman

 
  

Positions that Christine Todd Whitman has held:

  • EPA administrator


 

Quotes

 
  

No quotes or excerpts for this entity.


 

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Christine Todd Whitman actively participated in the following events:

 
  

September 7, 2001)      Environmental Impact

       EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman tells residents at a town hall meeting in Libby, Montana, a designated Superfund Site where the EPA is remediating asbestos contamination (see (August 2001)), “It has never been our plan to look to you to pay for any part of this cleanup, including the cleanup of residential properties.” [EPA, 9/7/2001]
People and organizations involved: Christine Todd Whitman
          

September 13, 2001      Environmental Impact

       EPA Administrator Christie Whitman announces that the EPA is monitoring levels of airborne contaminants in and around the area of Manhattan. She says that samples so far are “reassuring about potential exposure of rescue crews and the public to environmental contaminants.” The tests “found either no asbestos or very low levels of asbestos.” In Brooklyn, which is directly in the WTC smoke plume's path (see 9:59 a.m. September 11, 2001 and 10:28 a.m. September 11, 2001), she says that “levels of lead, asbestos and volatile organic compounds in air samples ... were not detectable or not of concern.” [Environmental Protection Agency, 9/13/01] However, her statements contradict results from transmission electron microscopy (TEM) tests that were conducted the previous day (see (September 12, 2001)).
People and organizations involved: Environmental Protection Agency, Christine Todd Whitman
          

September 14, 2001      Environmental Impact

       EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman is quoted by Newsweek saying that the smoke plume at the World Trade Center disaster site is “not a health problem.” She says: “We have found particulate matter in the air, but other than being an irritant to those people who are out there breathing it deeply that's why people are wearing protective gear and masks it is not a problem for the general population.” [Newsweek website, 9/14/2001 cited in Jenkins, 7/4/2003]
People and organizations involved: Christine Todd Whitman, Environmental Protection Agency
          

September 15, 2001      Environmental Impact

       EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman says with regard to Manhattan's air quality, “[T]here is no reason for concern.” She says that her agency is regularly sampling airborne particles and that findings indicate that most locations have an asbestos level of less than one percent—the amount above which the EPA considers a material to be “asbestos-containing” —but notes that the highest recorded reading so far was 4.5 percent (see September 12, 2001). [Newsday, 9/16/01] But the EPA is wrong to use the one percent level as if it were a safety benchmark (see (September 12, 2001)). Furthermore, its test results are not accurate, as they are based on the outdated polarized light microscopy (PLM) testing method which is incapable of identifying fine fibers and which cannot reliably detect asbestos when it is present in concentrations below one percent (see November 20, 1990).
People and organizations involved: Christine Todd Whitman, Environmental Protection Agency
          

September 18, 2001      Environmental Impact

       EPA Administrator Christie Whitman announces that results from further air and drinking water monitoring near the WTC site and the Pentagon indicate that there are few significant risks to public health. “We are very encouraged that the results from our monitoring of air quality and drinking water conditions in both New York and near the Pentagon show that the public in these areas is not being exposed to excessive levels of asbestos or other harmful substances,” she says. “Most” of the 62 dust samples taken by the agency contained less than one percent of asbestos. [EPA, 9/18/01] The EPA incorrectly uses the one percent level of ambient asbestos as if it were a safety benchmark (see (September 12, 2001)). Moreover, the test results Whitman cites are based on the less sensitive and outdated polarized light microscopy (PLM) testing method which is incapable of identifying ultra-fine asbestos fibers and which cannot reliably detect asbestos when present in concentrations below one percent (see November 20, 1990). Whitman's statement also observes that where asbestos levels have exceeded the EPA's one percent “level of concern,” the “EPA has operated its 10 High Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) vacuum trucks to clean the area and then resample.” She adds that the trucks have also cleaned the “streets and sidewalks in the Financial District in preparation for ... return to business.” [EPA, 9/18/01] However, it is later discovered that the contractor hired to clean the streets failed to equip the vacuum trucks with the required HEPA filters. [New York Daily News, 8/14/2002; Kupferman, 2003]
People and organizations involved: Environmental Protection Agency, Christine Todd Whitman
          

September 21, 2001      Environmental Impact

       EPA Administrator Christie Whitman assures New Yorkers that environmental conditions in Manhattan—both inside and outside—are safe, and provides a summary of the tests that have so far been performed on the city's air and drinking water.
Water - Whitman says: “As we continue to monitor drinking water in and around New York City, and as EPA gets more comprehensive analysis of this monitoring data, I am relieved to be able to reassure New York and New Jersey residents that a host of potential contaminants are either not detectable or are below the Agency's concern levels. Results we have just received on drinking water quality show that not only is asbestos not detectable, but also we can not detect any bacterial contamination, PCBs or pesticides.” She does say however that “following one rainstorm with particularly high runoff, we did have one isolated detection of slightly elevated levels of PCBs (see September 14, 2001).”
Outdoor air - Whitman says that outdoor air sampling does not indicate the existence of significant public health risks. This claim is based on results obtained using the outdated polarized light microscopy (PLM) testing method (see September 12, 2001) which is incapable of identifying ultra-fine fibers and which cannot reliably detect asbestos when present in concentrations below one percent (see November 20, 1990). Even though Whitman denies a significant risk to public health, she does say “seven samples taken at or near Ground Zero have had marginally higher levels of asbestos that exceed EPA's level of concern,” and that her agency has “done a total of 101 dust samples, of which 37 were slightly over the one percent asbestos.” Whitman does not mention that the EPA's “level of concern” is not a safety benchmark (see (September 12, 2001)) but rather the detection limit of the polarized light microscopy (PLM) testing method (see November 20, 1990).
Indoor air - Whitman claims, “New Yorkers and New Jerseyans need not be concerned about environmental issues as they return to their homes and workplaces.” But the EPA has no data indicating that indoor air is actually safe. The only indoor tests that have been conducted by the EPA were in the EPA's Region 2 offices located in the Federal Building and a few neighboring buildings—and the results from several of these tests were positive for chrysotile asbestos (see September 13, 2001-September 19, 2001). [EPA, 9/21/01; Nadler, 3/18/2002]
People and organizations involved: Environmental Protection Agency, Christine Todd Whitman
          

(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
          

October 3, 2001      Environmental Impact

       EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman and John Henshaw, US Department of Labor Assistant Secretary for OSHA, announce that their two agencies “have found no evidence of any significant public health hazard to residents, visitors or workers beyond the immediate World Trade Center area.” But later in the statement, they acknowledge that to date, “Of 177 bulk dust and debris samples collected by EPA and OSHA and analyzed for asbestos, 48 had levels over 1 percent, the level EPA and OSHA use to define asbestos-containing material.” Additionally, they say that out “of a total of 442 air samples EPA has taken at Ground Zero and in the immediate area, only 27 had levels of asbestos above the standard EPA uses to determine if children can re-enter a school after asbestos has been removed....” [EPA, 10/3/01]
People and organizations involved: Christine Todd Whitman, John L. Henshaw
          

(October 31, 2001)      Environmental Impact

       EPA Administrator Christie Whitman continues to reassure the public regarding environmental conditions in Lower Manhattan and says: “Those of us in government and the media share an obligation to provide members of the public, in a responsible and calm manner, with the information they need to protect themselves and their families from any environmental hazards that may result from the attacks on the World Trade Center.” [New York Daily News cited in Asthma Moms, 10/31/01]
People and organizations involved: Christine Todd Whitman
          

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)
          

November 28, 2001      Environmental Impact

       EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman, appearing before Congress, states: “Under the provisions of PDD 62, signed by President Clinton in 1998, the EPA is assigned lead responsibility for cleaning up buildings and other sites contaminated by chemical or biological agents as a result of an act of terrorism. This responsibility draws on our decades of experience in cleaning up sites contaminated by toxins through prior practices or accidents.” Her deputy, Linda Fisher, will repeat this to Congress a week later (see December 5, 2001). [Nadler, 4/12/2002]
People and organizations involved: Christine Todd Whitman
          

December 7, 2001      Environmental Impact

       Eighteen United States Congressional representatives write to EPA Administrator Christie Whitman requesting that she refrain from transferring the National Ombudsman's office to the EPA's Inspector General until after Congressional hearings on the issue have been held in early 2002. Nine additional Congressional representatives write to Whitman on December 19 (see December 7, 2001). [US Senate, 6/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: Christine Todd Whitman, EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG)
          

December 19, 2001      Environmental Impact

       Nine US Congressional representatives write to EPA Administrator Christie Whitman asking that she refrain from transferring the National Ombudsman office. Eighteen Congressional representatives have already submitted the same request to Whitman (see Afternoon November 27, 2001). [US Senate, 6/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: Christine Todd Whitman
          

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
          

January 11, 2002      Environmental Impact

       US Federal District Court Judge Richard W. Roberts issues a temporary restraining order preventing EPA Administrator Christie Whitman from implementing a plan (see Morning November 27, 2001) to transfer the ombudsman's office and investigative files to the EPA's Office of Inspector General (OIG). The restraining order will expire in early April (see April 6, 2002). [Salon, 1/14/02; US Senate, 6/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: Christine Todd Whitman, Richard W. Roberts
          

April 12, 2002      Environmental Impact

       US District Judge Richard W. Roberts vacates a temporary restraining order (see January 11, 2002) against the EPA, which had prevented the agency from transferring the function of the EPA's national ombudsman to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) (see Morning November 27, 2001). The case is referred to the United States Office of Special Counsel. Within hours, EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman and the EPA Office of Inspector General move to implement the planned changes (see Morning November 27, 2001) to the EPA National Ombudsman office. [US Senate, 6/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: Richard W. Roberts, EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG), Christine Todd Whitman
          

April 22, 2002      Environmental Impact

       On Earth Day, Robert Martin resigns from his position as the EPA national ombudsman in protest of the EPA's decision to curb his autonomy by placing his office under the jurisdiction of the EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG). Martin believes EPA administrator Christie Todd Whitman's decision to relocate jurisdiction of the office was caused by Martin's criticisms (and those of his chief investigator, Hugh Kaufman) of her potential conflicts of interest in respect to a Denver Superfund Site, the Marjol Battery site in Throop, PA, and his criticism of the EPA's response to environmental consequences following the World Trade Center attack in Lower Manhattan. In his letter of resignation, Martin accuses the EPA of concealing data regarding WTC toxic substances from residents, workers, and students in Lower Manhattan. [US Senate, 6/25/2002; Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 4/23/02]
People and organizations involved: Christine Todd Whitman, Hugh Kaufman, Memo from Robert Martin to Christie Whitman, 11/26/2001
          

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