Utah Governor Mike Leavitt was confirmed yesterday by an overwhelming majority (88-8) by the U.S. Senate to be the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"Todays Senate vote confirming Mike Leavitt is great news for the Agency, and for our mission of continued protection of human health and the environment. Mike is a thoughtful leader who will bring to EPA his strengths of collaborative environmental management, his commitment to air and water quality and land conservation and his dedication to ensuring effective stewardship of our natural resources," stated Acting EPA Administrator Marianne Horinko.
President George W. Bush said he was very pleased with the decision.
"Governor Leavitt is an exceptional leader who shares my commitment to reaching out across partisan lines to get things done. I know he will work closely with me to build upon my administration's initiatives to make our air and water cleaner, protect the land, and use technology to improve our environment while our economy grows and creates jobs," Bush said in a statement.
Leavitt was chosen to replace outgoing administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who left in July after a two-and-a-half year tenure at the EPA. His nomination was approved even after challenges by a number of leading Democrats, three of whom are presidential candidates. The challenges did not concern Leavitt's personal policies but general concerns about how the agency is run.
Leavitt currrently is in his third term as governor of Utah and has a long history of tackling environmental issues as part of the Western Governors Association.