Ombudsman Quits EPA

Despite serving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, D.C., for 10 years, Robert Martin has resigned his ombudsman position, following a federal judge's refusal to block moving his office from the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) to the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

Responsible for handling solid waste and Super fund complaints, Martin filed suit in January to prevent the move, contending that it would weaken his independence within the agency. U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Roberts issued a temporary restraining order against the Bush administration a few days later, and then extended the restraining order until April 5. But 10 days later, Roberts decided not to block the move.

In his resignation letter to Whitman, Martin said the transfer would change his job to “merely answer[ing] a telephone.” Whitman said Martin would have “more independence and the impartiality necessary to conduct credible inquiries.”

At press time, Martin's successor had not been named.