Whitman Urged Bush to Keep the Promise
on Pledge to Lower Carbon Dioxide


WASHINGTON (AP) - Environmental Protection
Agency chief Christie Whitman told President
Bush a week before he broke a campaign
promise to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that
such a move would undermine this country's
world reputation, The Washington Post said.

The warning came in a March 6 memo in which
Whitman wrote, ``I would strongly recommend
that you continue to recognize global warming is
a real and serious issue,''
the newspaper said in
Tuesday's editions.

``Mr. President, this is a credibility issue for the
U.S. in the international community,''
the memo
added. ``It is also an issue that is resonating
here at home. We need to appear engaged.''


One week after the memo, Bush announced he
would not seek the carbon dioxide reductions.
Carbon dioxide is a gas that scientists say is a
major factor in the earth's rising temperatures.

Those who have worked with Whitman on the
issue of global warming said she was
undermined by the decision.

``I respect Christie enormously, but I think the
administration undermined her,'' said Sen. John
F. Kerry, D-Mass., a leading advocate of the
need to address global warming. ``The question
is being asked: Does she speak for the
administration, and will she be able to enforce
environmental laws and seek others where
necessary?''

Whitman refused to comment Monday to the
Post. Her spokesman said the memo was a
confidential correspondence between Whitman
and the president, and that she would not be
willing to discuss it.

However, interviewed Tuesday on ABC's ``Good
Morning America,'' Whitman said she does not
believe her credibility has been undermined.

``He said global climate change is an issue in
which we need to be engaged internationally,''
Whitman said of Bush. ``He is very committed to
that decision. ... The international community
understands that.''

She also defended Bush's decision to roll back a
Clinton administration regulation that would have
reduced from 50 parts per billion to 10 parts per
billion the amount of arsenic allowed in drinking
water. ``The previous administration didn't take
the time to fully understand the impact of this
decision in those areas of the country where you
have a great deal of naturally occurring arsenic,''
Whitman said.

The reduction would not have taken effect until
2006, she said. ``We will have a new standard
by 2006 (and) it will certainly be well below 50''
parts per billion.