Whitman said ready to leave EPA

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman has told the White House and close friends and colleagues that she is ready to leave the agency but would like another high-level appointment, the Newark Star-Ledger reported Friday.

Already, rumors about her replacement are swirling around the agency.

Environmentalists and lobbyists are pointing to Florida environmental chief David Struhs, a member of President Bush's 2000 campaign team and the head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality under Bush's father, who could prove controversial with conservative activists.

Many in industry and conservative circles blame Struhs for convincing the president's speechwriters to include language in a campaign stump speech advocating aggressive action to combat climate change, a major embarrassment early in the administration.

Others whose names have surfaced for EPA chief include outgoing Michigan Gov. John Engler, and Jo Cooper, head of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Both Engler and Cooper would face stiff opposition from environmental groups. Engler took a lead role in his state's move to relax dioxin standards, and Cooper was CEO of the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association.