U.S. Representatives John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Thomas Bliley (R-Va.) announced December 6 that they will investigate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general, John Martin, principally for failing to pursue unscrupulous superfund contractors but also for other alleged failures. Dingell and Bliley head the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on oversight and investigations.
One of the allegations to be examined by Congressional investigators concerns Martin's handling of a controversy involving EPA Administrator William Reilly; EPA employees William Sanjour and Hugh Kaufman have presented evidence that Reilly improperly intervened in a federal-state dispute over hazardous waste regulation in North Carolina (See RHWN #151, #156, #157.) A whistleblower in Martin's own office, J. Richard Wagner, has alleged that Martin's official investigation of Reilly's action on North Carolina was, at best, badly botched and, at worst, represented a felonious conspiracy between Martin, Reilly, Jay Hair (President of the National Wildlife Federation), and Dean Buntrock, chief executive officer of Waste Management, Inc., to cover up improper attempts by Buntrock to influence Reilly at a breakfast meeting arranged by Hair.
According to the NEW YORK TIMES (12/10/89, pg. 37) and other sources, Dingell and Bliley are concerned about allegations that Martin--who is supposed to be an independent watchdog over EPA managers--met with Reilly before launching an inquiry into Reilly's and Buntrock's involvement in the North Carolina matter. Martin's inquiry cleared Reilly of any impropriety. In a letter to Martin advising him of the Congressional probe, Dingell and Bliley requested a raft of documents concerning the inspector general's office of investigations from 1984 through 1989.
Martin was first appointed EPA's Inspector General by President
Reagan in October, 1983; he was reappointed to that post by
President Bush in October, 1989. From 1981 to 1983 Martin was
Assistant Inspector General for Investigations at the Department
of Housing and Urban Development.
--Peter Montague, Ph.D.
Descriptor terms: john martin; william reilly; william sanjour; hugh kaufman; j. richard wagner; nc; north carolina; states sovereignty; jay hair; dean buntrock; wmi; epa;