For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 22, 2003

Grassley Defends EPA Whistleblower
Expert Retaliated Against for Exposing Sludge Risks

WASHINGTON Sen. Chuck Grassley today wrote to EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman asking that she reconsider the scheduled firing of Dr. David Lewis, an EPA microbiologist who has blown the whistle on dangerous sludge regulations. Grassley was joined by Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma in sending the letter to Whitman.

Lewis, who has been targeted by EPA bureaucrats, is set to be terminated on Wednesday, May 28. Grassley wants Lewis to be retained because of his status as a whistleblower and EPA's legal obligations under the law.

"Dr. Lewis has made important contributions to science during his time with the EPA and has an important role in making sure the homeland is adequately protected from biological attacks. We can't afford to be getting rid of highly qualified and competent workers just because they make a federal agency look bad," Grassley said.

For more than a decade, Lewis has sounded the alarm about the integrity of the science EPA uses to formulate its regulations of sludge. Lewis has repeatedly contended that EPA was using obsolete science to set exposure standards for sludge, presenting health hazards to people. Recently, his work has been vindicated by at least two independent organizations, the EPA Office of Inspector General and the National Research Council, an arm of the prestigious National Academies of Science.

"If EPA fires Dr. Lewis, it will be cutting off its nose to spite its face," Grassley said. "The EPA should be finding ways to keep experts like Dr. Lewis and take advantage of his knowledge, not send him packing. I hope Administrator Whitman will do the right thing."

Grassley has long championed whistleblower protections and protected numerous whistleblowers from various federal government agencies and contractors over the last two decades. He was the principal Senate author of the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989.

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