FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

EPA Ombudsman ResignsAccountability in Handling of Superfund Sites Threatened

by CounterPunch Wire

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Ombudsman Robert Martin resigned today, ending a long-running battle to preserve his office and its ability to independently investigate cases where the agency mishandled Superfund sites. His resignation came on the heels of actions taken by EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman to disband his office, including sending agents to confiscate his files and his computers, and to change the locks on his office last Thursday and Friday.

“This is a tremendous loss for Superfund communities nationwide as well as advocates for good government,” stated Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), one of many organizations supporting increased independence and authority for the EPA Ombudsman. Background on the EPA Ombudsman issue can be found at http://www.pogo.org/hazmats/hazindex.htm.

For years, the Ombudsman has been deeply critical of numerous EPA decisions regarding the clean-up of Superfund sites across the country. Efforts to limit his independence began under the Clinton Administration and dramatically escalated under Whitman’s authority. In recent months, Whitman prevented him from investigating sensitive cases and ordered that he be moved under the direct control of the Inspector General.

Actions by EPA Administrator Whitman have drawn widespread criticism. Supporters of Ombudsman independence include Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, the General Accounting Office, and community groups across the country who are affected by Superfund sites in their neighborhoods.

Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and eleven other Democrats have asked the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to accept Martin’s request for whistleblower protection. In May, Representative Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) plans hearings on the EPA’s efforts to interfere with the work of the Ombudsman. Last year, Representative Bilirakis and Senator Michael Crapo (R-ID) introduced the Ombudsman Reauthorization Act of 2001 (H.R. 1431, S.606) to improve the independence and authority of the Ombudsman to pursue Superfund investigations.

Attorney Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project is representing Mr. Martin in his filing before the Office of Special Counsel.

In 1998, POGO gave Mr. Martin its “Beyond the Headlines” award recognizing his ability to expose wrongdoing in the handling of Superfund sites and negotiate solutions between communities, polluters and the EPA.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
July 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
Collateral Damage: U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Russia Strike Western European Allies
Jim Kavanagh
Donald the Destroyer: Assessing the Trump Effect
Carl Boggs
The Other Side of War: Fury and Repression in St. Louis
Eva Golinger
There is Still Time to Prevent Civil War in Venezuela
Anthony DiMaggio
“A Better Deal”? Dissecting the Democrats’ “Populist” Turn in Rhetoric and Reality
Jeffrey St. Clair
Scout’s Honor
Conn Hallinan
Middle East Chaos
Mumia Abu-Jamal
James Baldwin: Word Warrior
Joshua Frank
The Fire Beneath: Los Angeles is Sitting on a Ticking Time Bomb
Myles Hoenig
It Wasn’t Russia, It was the Green Party!
Andrew Levine
Enter Scaramouche, Stage Right
Brian Cloughley
Time to Get Out of Afghanistan
Gary Leupp
The Trump Revolution Devouring Its Own Children
John Wright
Trump’s Hezbollah Gaff Was No Gaff
Alan Jones
“Finland Station” and the Struggle for Socialism Today
Robert Hunziker
Plastic Chokes the Seas
Eric Draitser
Enough Nonsense! The Left Does Not Collaborate with Fascists
Vijay Prashad
The FBI vs. Comrade Charlie Chaplin
Ishmael Reed
Trump’s Irish-Americans “Without Hearts”
Jane LaTour
Danger! Men Working
Yoav Litvin
The Unbearable Lightness of Counterrevolution
Charles Derber
Universalizing Resistance: How to Trump Trump
Gregory Barrett
Two Johnstones and a Leftish Dilemma: Nationalism vs. Neoliberalism
Joseph Natoli
Choosing the ‘Arteries that Make Money’
CJ Hopkins
Intersectionalist Internet Blues
Pepe Escobar
China and India Torn Between Silk Roads and Cocked Guns
Ralph Nader
Can the World Defend Itself From Omnicide?
Howard Lisnoff
Agape While Waltzing at the Precipice
Musa Al-Gharbi
Want to Shake Up Status Quo? Account for the Default Effect
Angela Kim
North Korean Policy Must Focus on Engagement Not Coercion
Hiroyuki Hamada
Delivering Art in the Empire
David Macaray
Talking Union
Binoy Kampmark
Refugee Conundrums: Resettlement, the UN and the US-Australia Deal
Robert Koehler
Opening Gitmo to the World
David Jaffee
No Safe Space for Student X
Thomas Knapp
The State is at War — With the Future
David Swanson
What’s Missing from Dunkirk Film
Winslow Myers
There Is Still Time, Brother
Robert J. Burrowes
Biological Annihilation on Earth Accelerating
Frederick B. Hudson – Dr. Junis Warren
Robot Scientists Carry Heavy Human Hearts 
Randy Shields
Not My Brother’s Reefer
Sam Lichtman
Where are the Millennials?
Louis Proyect
Death Race: the Cruelties of the Iditarod
Charles R. Larson
Review: Norman Lock’s A Fugitive in Walden Woods
July 27, 2017
Edward Curtin
The Deep State, Now and Then
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail