Still Purging Those Who Aren't 'Loyal Bushies'

The U.S. Attorney Purge scandal may be over, but the Bush administration hasn’t changed its habit of ridding itself of those guilty of independent thinking.

The battle over dioxin contamination in this economically stressed region [of Michigan] had been raging for years when a top Bush administration official turned up the pressure on Dow Chemical to clean it up.

On Thursday, following months of internal bickering over Mary Gade’s interactions with Dow, the administration forced her to quit as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Midwest office, based in Chicago.

We’ve learned quite a bit in recent days about the White House interfering with EPA regulations on dioxin contamination, but it’s especially bold, even for the Bush gang, to fire the one career official who was looking out for the public’s interests.

For the past year, Gade has been locked in a heated dispute with Dow about long-delayed plans to clean up dioxin-saturated soil and sediment that extends 50 miles beyond its Midland, Mich., plant into Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. […]

Though regional EPA administrators typically have wide latitude to enforce environmental laws, Gade drew fire from officials in Washington last month after she sent contractors to test soil in a Saginaw neighborhood where Dow had found high dioxin levels.

Michigan Environmental Council President Lana Pollack called Gade a “woman of unquestioned credentials and integrity who was doing her job enforcing our environmental laws.”

In this administration, that’s not a compliment.


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