Tags: Hurricane Harvey | bush | epa chief | harvey response | understaffed | christine whitman

Former Bush EPA Chief: Harvey Response Understaffed

Image: Former Bush EPA Chief: Harvey Response Understaffed
(AP)

By    |   Monday, 04 September 2017 02:05 PM

The former head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that the federal response to Hurricane Harvey lacks key positions.

Christine Todd Whitman, a former governor of New Jersey who led the EPA in President George W. Bush's administration, told CNN's "At This Hour" that "if I were at my old post, I would have a regional administrator. They don't have one. They don't have the staffing that they need in the agency to be able to respond in the way they normally would, they have career staff."

"You have emergency response personnel. They know their jobs. They will have been out there. It is hampering their work. You need somebody to be there encouraging them, telling them where to go, placing them. They know their jobs, but they need someone who setting out that policy for them without a question."

Whitman added that the emergency responders "will do a certain amount. They do know what to do. And they will be testing the air. They'll be testing the water where they can. And they will be sharing that hopefully in real time with the responsible officials."

The agency announced Saturday that 13 toxic waste sites in Texas have been flooded or damaged by the storm, according to CNN.

When asked if she thought that there's anything President Donald Trump's administration has done that "made this disaster worse," Whiteman said, "I think it's what they've not done."

She continued, "It's by not appointing people to fill those jobs in the regions. Those are the ones that are closest to what is going on in that region. They're the ones that know the players. They're the ones that deal with them and have the most direct contact. Very hard to organize that kind of a thing through — from Washington remotely without having somebody there who is really in charge on the ground. And that's what you're regional administrators do. And to my understanding, I don't know that they've even nominated people for the positions yet."

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The former head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that the federal response to Hurricane Harvey lacks key positions.
bush, epa chief, harvey response, understaffed, christine whitman
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2017-05-04
Monday, 04 September 2017 02:05 PM
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