Utah environmental groups have announced their opposition to Governor Michael Leavitt's nomination to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Citing what they characterized as Governor Leavitt's anti-environmental record, the groups, which include the Utah Rivers Council, Families Against Incinerator Risk and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, pointed to lax enforcement of environmental laws against major polluters, controversial deals that shut the public out of environmental decision-making and the state's poor environmental performance overall during the Governor's tenure.
"Based on his Utah record, Governor Leavitt will bend over backwards at EPA to make sweetheart deals with American industries that jeopardize the American public's health. We're asking Senators to safeguard our environment and public health by opposing his appointment." said Zach Frankel, executive director of Utah Rivers Council.
"Governor Leavitt will likely gut the EPA by putting industry interests far above public health concerns thereby making the agency a toothless watchdog" said Jason Groenewald, Executive Director of Families Against Incinerator Risk.
The groups pointed out that Senators Clinton, Graham, Lieberman and Edwards have already placed "holds" on the nomination.
"It's disturbing Governor Leavitt could be in a position of controlling national wetlands policy," said Marc Heileson of the Sierra Club. "for he's shown little regard for Utah wetlands by pursuing a destructive freeway through some of the Western Hemisphere's most important wetlands - the renowned marshlands of the Great Salt Lake," Heileson added.