Does McCain Support the Poisoning of MI’s Voters?

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.

15 replies
  1. ApacheTrout says:

    EW- the Bush Administration’s MO with the EPA and polluting companies has been sans enforcement for nearly the entire last eight years. The conversation has gone something like this:

    BA: hey, big company (BC), you’re polluting. cut it out.
    BC: no.
    BA: com’on. pretty please?
    BC: no. Cheney said it’s okay.
    BA: Really?
    BC: Yes.
    BA: well, we still want you to stop.
    BC: aside (hello? Cheney? I’m sending over a fax of the BA’s new pollution prevention plan. It’s called We Breathe the Air Too, with the subtitle “we heavily donated to your presidential campaign.)”
    BA: you still there?
    BC: yup. sorry about that. the cat was sneezing. If we have to stop polluting, we’ll go to Mexico and all the jobs will be lost.
    BA: oh. can’t let that happen.
    BC: right. BTW, did McCain get our campaign donation?
    BA: i think so. it would explain the big grin on his face. he was kinda dour when 20% of republicans voted against him in IN and NC on Tuesday. so thanks for the pick me up.
    BC: no problem.
    BA: hey, i got an idea. this is brilliant. Remember that Alberto Gonzales? He’s been down on his luck since he left to spend time with his family. He’s looking for a job. Do you think you could hire him to do some “pollution compliance” verification? Yeah, yeah, that’s right. Just like the Aschroft deal. You interested?
    BC: indeed. this might help us creatively solve the problem with this Mary Gade. Man, what’s up with her?
    BA: hold it a second, I’m writing her name down. M…A…R..Y , did you say Gade? Ha Ha Ha, that’s funny. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Ha Ha Ha.
    BC: I don’t get it.
    BA: Never mind. I’ll call Steven Johnson and tell him we need a change in direction in MI. We need someone to enforce immigration in the EPA, which nobodies doing right now.

  2. Rayne says:

    McCain needs to answer for this; my question is about the business sense this makes. What if the EPA is absolutely right, that cleaning up the river is the best solution, not just from the community’s perspective, but from a business perspective?

    Dow had a program called WRAP — Waste Reduction Always Pays — that reduced waste of all kinds from chemical processes, and actually saved the corporation millions of dollars. The dioxin in the river preceded that program, but couldn’t the cleanup actually save the corporation money by improving the Dow brand, by reducing the expenses of external legal fees, lawyers on staff, researchers, PR firms, internal PR, so on? After 10 years of this on-going battle, I have to believe so.

    Does McCain think that getting the EPA administrator fired is a better business decision than simply remediating the damage to the river?

    And then we have to take it to Rep. Dave “Rubber Stamp” Camp, who thinks that Gade was the most “unprofessional, vindictive and insulting government official” he’d ever run into in his career. Nevermind, of course, that Dow is one of his donors, that his wife as a former Dow attorney likely has a good grasp on how much all this crap has cost Dow. (I haven’t checked their financial reports recently for Dow stock — want to take bets on whether the Camps own some?)

    I’m also beginning to wonder whether Camp might have had some input into the disposition of former U.S. Attorney Margaret Chiara, since her district overlapped much of Camp’s MI-04 district. If his comments in any way shaped Gade’s career with the EPA, why not Chiara?

    Is this flaccid slacker Camp (R-Dow) a sleeper for the Bushies?

  3. al75 says:

    I was a kid before the Clean Air act — and after it passed, I could see the buildings in downtown Nashville as I went to school – they were in a cloud of smoke before.

    Then Richard Nixon created the EPA, and the federal government really started testing air and water quality, developing and enforcing rules.

    Ever since Reagan and his “government is the problem” administration, the GOP has declared war on all forms of regulation. Anne Gorsuch and James Watt were prototype appointees to federal agencies, who’s real agenda was to destroy the agencies they’d been appointed to lead.

    This – as we all know – has accelerated under Bush43.

    Yes, the Gade firing is important, terribly important – but it’s also important to see that this is part of a sweeping problem, the corruption and degradation from within of nearly every branch of government.

  4. MarieRoget says:

    Welcome back, EW! You are truly back home now, yes?

    In either case, McCain’s answer seems rather pertinent to this year’s presidential elections.

    It’ll take a town hall meeting to get this question asked of St. John, as it took an open forum to elicit the “100 years in Iraq” answer. MSM is still giving the pat-on-the-rump & attaboy to him, until Russert & Co decree he’s fair game.

    Not going to hang by my neck waiting for that to happen anytime soon, if at all.

    • HmblDog says:

      Excellent question.
      Still, this is the media that will spend 20 seconds reporting possibly 100,000 dead in Myanmar/Burma and the remainder on who is more unfit Hill or Barack.

      • DefendOurConstitution says:

        You mean as soon as he’s done with Rev. Wright for the 1 millionth time?

  5. bmaz says:

    McCain to EW, Rayne and other concerned Michigan citizens – “My friends let me assure you, this is something I am very concerned about, and the first priority has to be the safety and health of you and other citizens of Michigan. As President, I would demand and insure dogged regulation and supervision of environmental hazard situations like this.”

    McCain an hour later to the Chemical and Plastics Manufacturing Consortium – “My friends, the scourge in this country is unreasonable liberal environmentalists and regulators dragging down business markets like yours. As President, I assure you that I will see to it that overzealous regulators and watchdogs are curbed so that you are free to invent and produce as the free markets of this country demand. I will make sure that rabid checks on your business, like this Gade woman, are removed”.

    McCain to Wolf Blitzer the next day – “Wolf, what I told my friends in Michigan was that my first concern was their well being”. Wolf, “Well Senator, you certainly are a handsome mavericky maverick”.

  6. klynn says:

    Welcome back EW. Thanks for the great posts today.

    Thank you bmaz for your posts yesterday. I’ll be thinking about those anti-puffs efforts…

  7. Minnesotachuck says:

    Welcome back EW!! I hope you tasted your share of the fruit of malt.

    bmaz, great job filling in. Also, your juxtaposed quotes in #9, above are just awesome and should be spread far and wide. Do you have some links to shut up the skeptical McBots?

  8. JohnLopresti says:

    The region V leader’s forced exit resembles the US attorney purge. I would look closely at OMB and CEA as instrumental in the coup. Crew had a timeline of both of those executive branch departments’ involvement in regionally significant efforts on the administration’s part to shorten the leash on EPA, e.g. with respect to publication of data on maternal and fetal toxic impacts of methylmercury in the Great Lakes [document titles listed but not linked by crew], as well as prospective measures to rein in coal fired electricity generation plant construction in the face of congressional momentum sufficient to end midwest pollution of air and contribution to acid rain. With respect to EPA assets, the President and the two above-mentioned executive branch departments have played a part in suppression of availability of EPA archived information by closing much of EPA’s system of reference libraries over the past two years, e.g. in IL in 2006; GAO published a nice study of the subterfuges the administration has deployed, and turbulence created in the wake of this repressive tactic in this February 2008 study of the closing of EPA informationbases and libraries [1MBpdf] to access by the public, lawyers, and scientists. Bush has had OMB and CEA working overtime for the past two years, and Cheney has had a leadership position, in the suppression of NOAA regulations to slow commercial shipping in the area where near extinct right whales live just north of the Aleutians; Waxman is onto this specious scam, and this week has posted links to some documents showing how Cheney and boat co friends have succeeded in preventing obligatory protections from being enforced, thereby saving costs for boat cos and killing many right whales. Waxman has announced hearings on this classical lowRepublican ploy, see his site and the suite of documents obtained anonymously from NOAA, there; Wapo on same Cheneyesque polity last week, there.

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