Bush Scandals List

348. The EPA, Mary Gade, and dioxin

On May 1, 2008, Mary Gade EPA administrator for the Great Lakes region resigned. Two aides to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson had told her she had been placed on administrative leave and that if she did not resign by June 1 she would be fired. Gade, a lawyer who made her name defending corporations from environmental regulators, was appointed to the EPA position by George Bush in September 2006. Gade’s problems began when she sought to force Dow Chemical to clean up dioxin contaminated areas stretching 50 miles from its plant in Midland, Michigan to Lake Huron. Dioxin is a long lived, highly toxic byproduct in the production of some kinds of herbicides. It is best known for the health problems associated with the Vietnam era Agent Orange and for the evacuations of Love Canal in New York and Times Beach in Missouri. Dow had been getting rid of it by dumping it into Michigan streams into the 1980s. In mid-2007, Gade invoked emergency powers and demanded that Dow clean up 3 dioxin “hotspots” near the Midland plant. In November, she ordered more work to be done when the highest concentration of dioxin ever recorded in this country was found in a Saginaw park. Dow tried to cut a deal with Gade in January 2008 to get out from under its liability but when this fell through it lobbied Washington. The result was Gade’s dismissal. This Administration has few standards but a regulator who regulates is something it will not stand for.

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