Two former Republican EPA administrators warn of 'siege' against agency

The Environmental Protection Agency is "under siege" from a Congress bent on cutting its budget and blunting its responsibilites to science, two former Enviornmental Protection Agency directors who served under Republican presidents wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Friday.

"Today the agency President Richard Nixon created in response to the public outcry over visible air pollution and flammable rivers is under siege," Christine Todd Whitman, EPA administrator under George W. Bush, and William D. Ruckelshaus, administrator under Nixon and Reagan, wrote.

"[W]e have observed firsthand rapid changes in scientific knowledge concerning the dangers posed by particular pollutants, including lead additives in gasoline, benzene and the impact of contaminants on our drinking-water supply. In each of these cases, the authority of our major environmental statutes was essential to protect public health and the most vulnerable members of our society, even in the face of remaining scientific debate."

Whitman and Ruckelshaus also took aim at Republican efforts to defund the EPA, a move they said would "impede its ability to protect our air and water."

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