On October 28, by a vote of 88 to 8, the Senate confirmed Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt (R.) as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Despite the fact that Leavitt is considered a moderate on environmental issues, Democrats made a controversy of his nomination, beginning when President Bush first announced it.
Leavitts opponents, including a core of leftist senators and their allies in well-funded environmental groups, were unsuccessful in thwarting his appointment, but they did manage to delay it for some time.
Leavitt, the popular three-term governor of the Beehive State, faced his first challenge when Democratic senators boycotted the Senate Environment and Public Works Committees October 1 vote on the nomination. The Chairman, Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla.), was forced to delay the nomination.
In the end, Leavitt satisfied some of his critics by presenting his plans for certain environmental issues. But more importantly, most Democrats decided that this was a fight they would not win.
Leavitt, unlike his EPA predecessor, Christie Todd Whitman, could be a formidable adversary to activist goals. Sensing this, environmental extremist groups decried Leavitts “lax enforcement of environmental laws against major polluters” as governor of Utah. The complaining groups included Citizens Against Chlorine Contamination, Families Against Incinerator Risk, Friends of the Great Salt Lake, Physicians For Social Responsibility , Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Earth Justice, and Utah Legislative Watch.
Several liberal senators held Leavitts nomination hostage for a time, letting it proceed only when the Bush Administration handed over certain data about environmental policy and enforcement. Sen. James Jeffords (I.-Vt.), for example, voted for Leavitt only after being given an administration cost-benefit analysis on an unrelated environmental issue. “It has nothing to do with the qualifications,” he said at the time. “We intend to use the leverage to get the answers we want.”
But ultimately, Leavitts nomination passed easily, with votes even coming from some of the most liberal senators in the Senate.
A “yes” vote was a vote to confirm President Bushs choice of Mike Leavitt as EPA administrator. A “no” vote was a vote against the nomination.
|FOR THE NOMINATION: 88||AGAINST THE NOMINATION: 8|
|REPUBLICANS FOR (51):
DEMOCRATS FOR (36):
INDEPENDENT FOR (1):
|REPUBLICANS AGAINST (0):
DEMOCRATS AGAINST (8):
NOT VOTING: 4
|REPUBLICANS (0):||DEMOCRATS (4):|