A number of people (including Senator Whitehouse) have pointed out how much the Mary Gade firing resembles the US Attorney firing. As the Chicago Tribune reported (before the Administration released the standard "spending time with her family" statement), Gade was told to resign because she expected Dow Chemical to clean up its pollution in the Saginaw-Midland MI area.
On Thursday, following months of internal bickering over Mary Gade’s interactions with Dow, the administration forced her to quit as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Midwest office, based in Chicago.
Gade told the Tribune she resigned after two aides to national EPA administrator Stephen Johnson took away her powers as regional administrator and told her to quit or be fired by June 1.
Gade, appointed by President Bush as regional EPA administrator in September 2006, invoked emergency powers last summer to order the company to remove three hotspots of dioxin near its Midland headquarters.
She demanded more dredging in November, when it was revealed that dioxin levels along a park in Saginaw were 1.6 million parts per trillion, the highest amount ever found in the U.S.
Dow then sought to cut a deal on a more comprehensive cleanup. But Gade ended the negotiations in January, saying Dow was refusing to take action necessary to protect public health and wildlife. Dow responded by appealing to officials in Washington, according to heavily redacted letters the Tribune obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
On Thursday, Gade said of her resignation: "There’s no question this is about Dow. I stand behind what I did and what my staff did. I’m proud of what we did."
What I haven’t heard mentioned in any of this coverage, though, is whether John McCain supports the firing of Mary Gade.
It’s relevant, I figure, for two reasons. First, with his half-measures global warming initiative, McCain likes to fancy himself a bit of an environmentalist. More importantly, McCain is banking heavily on winning MI in November. There is no way that McCain becomes President without winning MI.
So don’t you think it a relevant question–whether McCain supports the firing of Mary Gade because she tried to end the poisoning of a bunch of MI voters on whose votes McCain is counting?
Either he thinks the firing extremely inappropriate–in which case it’ll make it easier to hammer the Bush Administration for this firing. Or, he thinks firing Gade is all well and good, presuming he’ll get MI’s votes before those voters die of diseases relating to the dioxin in their water.
In either case, McCain’s answer seems rather pertinent to this year’s presidential elections.