Friday, April 23, 2004

Know Bush Fact #21

Based on the belief that the truth shall set you free:

Two years ago, on Earth Day, Robert Martin, National Ombudsman of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response) for over nine years, resigned.

The Ombudsman’s job was to stand apart from the EPA and perform independent investigations of complaints from citizens to ensure that the EPA remained accountable and true to its mission of protecting human health and the environment, particularly in cleaning up toxic sites.

Even before Bush was in office, Bob Martin was investigating an EPA deal made with Citigroup and one of its several toxic waste sites, Shattuck Chemical Company site in Denver’s Overland Park.

Then Bush arrived, and appointed Christine Todd Whitman, whose husband John Whitman is a top investment manager for Citigroup, to the position of Director of the EPA.

As Martin’s investigation grew to question the obvious conflict of interest here, Ms. Whitman turned on him and announced that his previously independent office would be closed and he would be moved into the office of the EPA Inspector General, under the authority of . . . the Director of the EPA, Christine Todd Whitman.

In the spirit of the Bush opposite-meaning philosophy, Ms. Whitman said, "The General Accounting Office report recommended that the Agency ‘take steps to strengthen the independence' of the ombudsman. By relocating the position to the Office of the Inspector General we are doing just that."

While Martin was out of town on business, she had his files seized and his locks changed. He no longer had access to his files on the Citigroup/Shattuck/Whitman connection. The EPA declared that he no longer had any defined duties and would be stripped of his title.

No longer able to help those he cared about, he resigned.

There is no longer a truly independent Ombudsman for the EPA. The Bush policies that favor industry deals and questionable science are rubber stamped, and calls from residents of toxic neighborhoods are ignored.

Meanwhile, there are pictures of Bush in the wetlands for Earth Day.

To verify/research, Google: "Martin +ombudsman."

- April 23, 2004

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