Christie Todd Whitman on Environment

Former Director of the E.P.A (Pres. Bush Cabinet); Former Republican Governor (NJ)


If we drill in ANWR, take environment into consideration

Q: Do you support drilling for oil in ANWR?

A: Ultimately that's not my decision. That will be a decision of Congress. Our role in the Environmental Protection Agency will be to ensure that anything that happens is environmentally sound, that we make sure that we impose all the environmental regulations that are necessary to protect it if that's the decision. But that's a decision that's going to be made by the president and Congress and it can't happen without that support.

Q: Do you support that drilling in Alaska?

A: Well, I am part of the V.P.'s energy task force, and we're looking at all the energy alternatives that we have because there's a real crisis. And at that meeting, I always raise my hand to bring in the environment to make sure that anything that is decided on an overall energy policy of which, if there's a decision to drill in ANWR, that would be part of it, takes environment into consideration.

Q: That's not a no?

A: [No response].

Source: 2010 Fox News interview on Your World With Neil Cavuto , Dec 15, 2010

Expect $500B to repair aging water infrastructure

Q. What are your views on water policy?

A. Water is the number one issue in the world. We have aging sewers, pipes, and septics. It is said to cost $500 billion to a trillion dollars for repairs.

Q. What is your view on regulations?

A. They have to be wise regulations. The American people have to become engaged in the issue. Al Gore has done wonders for this issue with his documentary.

Source: Libby Hughes in Cape Cod Today, "Kennedy School" , Dec 6, 2006

Set arsenic standard at 10 ppb in drinking water

Christie Whitman announced that the arsenic standard in drinking water will be 10 parts per billion (ppb). “EPA intends to strengthen the standard for arsenic by substantially lowering the maximum acceptable level from 50 parts per billion (ppb), which has been the lawful limit for nearly half a century,” Whitman said. “This standard will improve the safety of drinking water for millions of Americans, and better protect against the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.”

Whitman reiterated that additional study has not delayed the compliance date for implementing a new standard for arsenic in 2006. “Instead it has reinforced the basis for the decision,” said Whitman. “I said in April that we would obtain the necessary scientific and cost review to ensure a standard that fully protects the health of all Americans, we did that. A standard of 10 ppb protects public health based on the best available science and ensures that the cost of the standard is achievable.”

Source: Bush Cabinet: EPA Press Release , Oct 31, 2001

No longer WHETHER, but HOW to act environmentally

We have seen a significant transformation in the way we view our air, water, and land. Today, there is universal agreement that our natural resources are valuable, not just for the economic prosperity they help create, but for what they add to our quality of life. No longer do we debate about “whether” we need to act to protect our environment. Instead, we discuss “how” we can keep America green while keeping our economy growing.
Source: Statement to Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works , Jan 17, 2001

New era of policy beyond “command and control”

America is on the cusp of another major transformation. We are ready to enter a new era of environmental policy, that requires a new philosophy of public stewardship and personal responsibility. We are moving beyond the “command and control” model of regulations and litigation. Instead, we are working to forge strong partnerships among citizens, government, and business that are built on trust, cooperation, and shared mutual goals. Those partnerships are producing results - clear, measurable results.
Source: Statement to Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works , Jan 17, 2001

EPA principles: local cooperation, clear science-based goals

    I would like to highlight several of the principles that I will work to implement at the EPA.
  1. We will launch a new era of cooperation among all stakeholders in environmental protection. There is much government can do, but government cannot do it alone.
  2. We will maintain a strong federal role, but we will provide flexibility to the states and to local communities. They need that flexibility to craft solutions that meet their unique situations. We will also respect state and local authority.
  3. We will continue to set high standards and will make clear our expectations. To meet and exceed those goals, we will place greater emphasis on market-based incentives.
  4. We will use strong science. Scientific analysis should drive policy. Neither policy nor politics should drive scientific results.
  5. We will work to promote effective compliance without weakening our commitment to vigorous enforcement. We will offer the carrot when appropriate, and always preserve the stick of enforcement.
Source: Bush Cabinet:Statement to Senate Cmte. on Env.& Public Works , Jan 17, 2001

1990s: Cut NJ DEP; limited pollution monitoring

Critics charge that Whitman made severe cuts to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and that many of her actions and policies have limited the ability of the state environmental agency to monitor and enforce pollution controls. Furthermore, in a survey of one of New Jersey's major environmental groups, when asked what the biggest problem facing New Jersey's environment, many respondents answered Whitman herself.
Source: Cameron Lynch in W&M Env. Law Review, vol. 26 #1, p.237-238 , Jan 1, 2001

Relaxed standard for arsenic in public drinking water

Environmental critics theorize that all GOP concerns stem from economic and industry motivations and not from a concern with environmental priorities. Recent criticism of newly appointed EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman illustrates the frustration with this relationship. The EPA's recent decision regarding the standard for allowable levels of arsenic in public drinking water brought both Whitman and President George W. Bush into the environmental spotlight. Democrats and other critics argue that this decision illustrates a larger disregard for America's natural resources from the new administration and the GOP. Furthermore, Democrats have vowed to make the environment a key issue with which to attack the Republican Party in the next campaign cycle. While both Democrats and Republicans claim their stances on the environment are grossly overstated and misinterpreted by the other respective party;" the realization is likely somewhere in between these two opinions.
Source: Cameron Lynch in W&M Env. Law Review, vol. 26 #1, p.231 , Jan 1, 2001

1990s: $10M for Sterling Forest; 1M acres of open space

As Governor, Whitman supported legislation providing ten million dollars for the preservation of Sterling Forest. "She helped increase state funding for shore protection" and "pushed other Republican governors to support efforts to reduce soot and smog air pollution. In 1998, then-Governor Whitman "signed major clean water legislation to grant up to $100 million in loans to local governments and water authorities for clean water and drinking water projects." Whitman strongly supported a bond program approved by New Jersey voters in 1998 to purchase open space, "as well as a 1999 bill to provide funding to preserve one million acres of land in the state by 2009."'
Source: Cameron Lynch in W&M Env. Law Review, vol. 26 #1, p.237 , Jan 1, 2001

Spearheaded preservation in heavily developed NJ

Whitman, in accepting the nation’s top environmental spot, said, “This job will be a challenge. ”I have never underestimated the importance of environmental protection, just as I have never overestimated the ease of achieving it,“ she said.

Environmentalists say she’s the best they could expect from a Republican administration, but the New Jersey governor faces criticism even though she spearheaded preservation in the nation’s most densely developed state and backed an unpopular auto emission test designed to reduce pollution. But critics say she compromised water pollution protections and cut spending for state offices that prosecute environmental abuses by industry.

Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope said Whitman has a “mixed record on the environment, but on balance we believe the Sierra Club could work with her.”

Source: ABCnews.com on Bush Cabinet , Dec 23, 2000

Supports “smart growth” against suburban sprawl

Whitman could run into trouble with pro-business conservatives for her support for “smart growth” plans to curb sprawl by restricting the suburbanization of rural areas. And her liberal stands on abortion and gay rights have made her a punching bag for social conservatives trying to prove their right-wing credentials.
Source: ABCnews.com on Bush Cabinet , Dec 23, 2000

Unfettered development is ugly; smart growth instead

I’ve seen what unfettered development looks like. It’s ugly, and it puts basic needs such as a clean water supply at risk. New Jersey cannot fail to act when the drinking water, the health, and the quality of life of our families are at stake. “No growth” is no answer. The message is that to prevent sprawl, to relieve traffic jams, and to reinvigorate our cities, New Jersey needs to steer development to areas where the infrastructure of roads, schools, and sewers are already in place
Source: Speech at Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University , Apr 27, 2000

Protect clean water via watershed management plans

We know that clean air is invaluable, and we must safeguard it. We know that clean water is priceless, and we must protect our watersheds. Unfortunately, as New Jersey has poured more concrete & cut down more woodlands, we have put watersheds at risk. The State has set up a process to establish watershed management plans.
Source: State of the State address, Jan. 11, 2000 , Jan 11, 2000

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