EPA Director's Resignation Sparks Senate Hearings

Washington, D.C. -- Eric Schaeffer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) director of civil enforcement, has resigned after 12 years with the agency because he believes the White House is trying to weaken the rules that several EPA officials have been trying to enforce.

Specifically, Schaeffer complained in a letter to EPA administrator Christie Whitman that the Bush administration has interfered with pursuing violations at power plants, and that the administration is considering policy changes that would provide loopholes, allowing older plants to continue without having to reduce emissions.

The resignation has prompted the Senate's Governmental Affairs Committee to conduct hearings next week to analyze the administration's environmental record.