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Sheehy: President Obama must take charge of search for new EPA administrator

Says next regional environment official must fulfill duty to protect people
January 22, 2016
Michael Sheehy News

Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) today called upon President Obama to lead the charge in finding an appropriate replacement for Susan Hedman as the EPA Region 5 Administrator. Hedman announced her resignation amidst the Flint water crisis, effective February 1.

“The recent water crises in Ohio and Michigan that have threatened the health and lives of our citizens are entirely unacceptable,” said Sheehy. “Here in the Great Lakes region, we need an EPA Administrator committed to protecting and maintaining our clean water resources and the people that rely on them.”

In August 2014, Toledo issued a “do not drink” advisory for three days due to high levels of toxins in the water caused by harmful algal blooms. Many attribute these algal blooms being fueled by high levels of phosphorus run off in Lake Erie’s tributaries, largely coming from agricultural practices.

“We have seen first hand in Toledo the dire consequences of contaminated drinking water,” said Sheehy. “The state and federal governments must work hand in hand in order to tackle the challenges in preserving our clean water resources. I urge the president to appoint a new, qualified regional administrator with all appropriate haste.” 

In Flint, Michigan, the city’s drinking water was contaminated with lead while under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager in April of 2014. While a new water pipeline to Lake Huron was under construction, the city began drawing drinking water from the Flint River instead of using filtered lake water. The corrosive drinking water from the Flint River then leached lead from the pipes into the city’s drinking water supply.