Linda Fisher, second in command at the U.S. EPA, resigned from her post as deputy administrator on June 26, 2003, just one day before her boss, Christie Whitman, stepped down. Like Whitman, Fisher cited her family as her reason for leaving, but Beltway scuttlebutt suggested that she was upset at being passed over to head the EPA. (Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne (R) is currently rumored to be the top candidate for that position.) Below is the communication Fisher sent to all U.S. EPA employees about her decision. It includes her letter of resignation to President Bush.
To All EPA Employees:
Earlier today, I tendered my resignation to President Bush, effective July 11, 2003, a copy of which is attached.
It was a real honor for me to be asked by President Bush to serve in his Administration at this great Agency, and a personal privilege to serve as Deputy Administrator to Christie Whitman. I will be forever grateful to both of them for giving me this opportunity. During our time here, I believe we have accomplished great things that have benefitted the environment and strengthened the Agency, and I am proud to have been a member of this team.
In her resignation letter to the President, Governor Whitman highlighted many of the accomplishments of the Agency over the last two and a half years that will leave the air cleaner, the water purer and America’s land better protected. I am proud to have worked with her on each of these efforts.
As Deputy, I have also had the opportunity to focus on issues that I believe are essential to a strong, vibrant Agency, an Agency that is well situated to address the environmental challenges of the future. I firmly believe that the SES candidate program, the professional intern program and the SES mobility initiative will add breadth, depth and vitality to our SES corps. Our new strategic plan, our work to better align our planning and budgeting across headquarters, regions and states and the establishment of the National Center for Innovation will make this a more efficient, results oriented Agency. Our renewed focus on integrating stronger, peer-reviewed science into our decision-making will enhance the credibility not only of our decisions, but of the Agency as well.
I have said repeatedly that this Agency has the most talented, dedicated and energetic workforce in government. My experience over the past two and a half years has served to reaffirm that belief. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your Deputy Administrator, and to work with all of you again. The environmental challenges we face as a country are considerable, but I have great confidence that, with your leadership, hard-work and creativity, we will resolve them. For my part, I will be cheering you on, taking quiet pride in your many accomplishments.
Linda J. Fisher
June 26, 2003
Dear Mr. President:
I hereby tender my resignation as Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, effective July 11, 2003.
It has been a rare privilege to serve as a member of your Administration and under the leadership of Governor Whitman. I am proud of the work this Agency has done to preserve and protect our precious natural environment and the health of the American people, whom we all have the honor to serve.
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. The work of this Agency, and its many talented and dedicated employees, ha[s] made a real difference for our country and its people.
America’s water will be purer. EPA’s Watershed Initiative is expanding watershed-based water protection policy across the country. The Agency’s innovative Water Quality Trading program will help address the growing problem of nonpoint source pollution. EPA’s plan for cleanup of the Hudson River has set a new standard for restoring waterways that have been threatened by decades of abuse. Improvements to the rules governing Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations will protect surface water by requiring reductions of at least 25 percent in run-off of nitrogen and phosphorous from those large agricultural operations.
I will always be grateful for the opportunity to serve your Administration at the EPA. 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.
I wish you continued success in all your undertaking in the days ahead.
Linda J. Fisher