to take council post; EPA appointment not likely
The Associated Press
and Beth Medley Bellor of The Midland Daily News
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,"
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
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
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
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
Engler will be succeeded by Democrat
Jennifer Granholm on Jan. 1.
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