Second Top Official at EPA Resignsby John Heilprin, Associated Press
Environmental News Network, June 27, 2003
WASHINGTON -- The second-ranking official at the Environmental Protection Agency submitted her resignation Thursday, a day before EPA Administrator Christie Whitman leaves her job to return to New Jersey.
Linda Fisher, the deputy administrator, had been seen as a possible successor to Whitman, who took over the EPA after serving as New Jersey governor. Fisher told President Bush in her resignation letter that she plans to step down July 11.
Several administration officials said they do not expect Bush to name a successor to Whitman before her last day on Friday. It could be mid-July before Bush decides on a new administrator, one White House official said Thursday. That means Fisher will serve as acting administrator between the time Whitman leaves and her own departure.
Like Whitman, Fisher wrote that she wanted to spend more time with her family. She called it "a rare privilege" to serve in the Bush administration, under Whitman's leadership.
"I am also proud that, as deputy administrator, I have had the opportunity to contribute to the long record of environmental protection achieved by this agency under seven presidents over more than three decades," Fisher said. "While much work remains to be done, I look forward, at this time in my life, to spending more time with my two young children."
Fisher could not immediately be reached for further comment.
Her decision could indicate a further narrowing of the list of candidates to head EPA. Other names frequently circulated include GOP Gov. Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho and Tom Skinner, an EPA regional administrator for the Midwest region whose father, Sam, was White House chief of staff for Bush's father.
Kempthorne defended his environmental record against attacks from environmentalists while speaking with reporters in Boise, Idaho, on Tuesday. He said he hasn't spoken with anyone in the Bush administration about the potential job since a couple weeks ago.
Fisher was confirmed by the Senate in May 2001 to serve as top managerial and policy assistant to Whitman. She came to EPA from her job as a vice president for the chemical company Monsanto in St. Louis, Mo. She also practiced law in the nation's capital and holds a business degree.
She previously worked at EPA from 1983 to 1993, holding senior posts such as chief of staff and assistant administrator overseeing pesticides and toxic substances.
learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs