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Great Lakes Article:

Engler to take council post; EPA appointment not likely
The Associated Press
and Beth Medley Bellor of The Midland Daily News
12/21/2002


LANSING - Gov. John Engler will join the Washington-based Council on Competitiveness as a distinguished fellow in late January, the council announced Thursday.
     The council is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose membership includes about 150,000 corporate chief executives, university presidents and labor leaders.
     The council has five fellows, spokeswoman Lea Kleinschmidt said. Engler will have an office at the council's Washington's headquarters but Kleinschmidt doesn't know how often Engler will be there.
     "We haven't actually gotten a sense from Governor Engler how much time he'll spend in the office," she said.
     Engler spokeswoman Susan Shafer said the governor still is looking for a full-time job in Michigan and only will be working for the council part-time.
     "He sees this as an excellent way for him to continue to be part of the debate on education to legal reform and economic development," she said. "He's looking forward to being able to serve the council in that capacity."
     A full-time job in Michigan would greatly relieve some environmentalists, who are so worried Engler will become head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency they wrote President Bush to declare the governor "unfit for duty" in that agency.
     The job isn't open, but Christine Todd Whitman has been rumored to be considering leaving, and two recent media reports put Engler's name on the short list.
     Twenty-six groups signed the letter, most of them environmental activist groups including the Michigan Environmental Council, Ecology Center, Lone Tree Council and Tittabawassee River Watch. Other groups such as the American Lung Association and Michigan Drain Code Coalition also signed.
     "In the final days of his administration, Gov. Engler has instructed the director and deputy director of the state environmental agency unlawfully to relax scientifically based state standards on highly toxic dioxin contamination to provide a windfall to Dow Chemical Corporation (sic) that is likely responsible for these contaminations," the letter reads in part. "The contamination affects the largest watershed feeding the nationally significant Great Lakes."
     The letter also says Engler has defied the EPA by refusing to warn women of childbearing age about eating Great Lakes fish, refusing to enforce Clean Water Act requirements and appealing Clean Air Act standards. The letter is on the web at http://www.ecocenter.org/releases/20021219letter.shtml
     Engler said earlier this month he planned to spend the next six months in the Lansing area so his three 8-year-old daughters could finish the school year at their current school. He said it's likely the family will look for a house elsewhere in the state this summer, and he made it clear they would not be moving to Washington.
     "We would imagine that we would be (living) in southeast Michigan, because no matter what I do I'm going to be spending more time getting on planes at Metro Airport. That's very clear. Everybody I've talked to says I'm going to have more travel," Engler said in a Dec. 4 interview with The Associated Press.
     Engler said he's considering jobs involving technology as he prepares to step down from state government after three terms.
     Kleinschmidt did not know how much Engler will make working for the council. Former NASA administrator Dan Golden is among the fellows Engler will be joining at the council.
     Engler will be succeeded by Democrat Jennifer Granholm on Jan. 1.

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