Who Will Replace EPA Chief Whitman?

Few environmentalists will miss Christine Todd Whitman. While Whitman appeared to be a voice of reason in Bush's pro-industry, pro-big business administration, her actions proved that her dissent was only relative. Her tenure wasn't without some significant achievements, though.

Rumors last November were that Colin Powell "joked at a Cabinet meeting that Whitman was the administration's 'wind dummy' -- a military term for the object shoved out of the door of an airplane to determine how the wind is blowing over the landing zone." I guess we all know now how the wind blows.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said, "It would be a welcome change if Gov. Whitman's successor not only shared her interest in environmental progress, but were allowed to pursue it." That doesn't seem likely, in fact many environmentalists fear that Whitman's successor could be even worse on protecting our air, water and natural resources.

Four people - Deputy EPA Administrator Linda Fisher, former Michigan Gov. John Engler, Florida Environmental Protection Secretary David Struhs, and the auto industry's chief Washington lobbyist, Josephine Cooper - emerged as favorites to replace Whitman.

Fisher is a former vice president at the chemical firm Monsanto.

Engler, now a vice president at the technology firm EDS, proposed to ease state standards for the carcinogen dioxin just before leaving as Michigan's governor.

Struhs works for the president's brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and is the brother-in-law of the president's chief-of-staff, Andrew Card.

Cooper, president of the Washington-based Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, was an assistant EPA administrator under President Reagan. She was a vice president for both the American Forest & Paper Association and the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association.