The Honorable Christine Todd-Whitman March 1, 2001
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Administrator Todd-Whitman:
We are dismayed that Alan Hais has been designated as the EPA liaison to the National Academy of Sciences Project BEST-K-00-02-A: Risks from Toxicants and Pathogens in Biosolids Fertilizers. This project was initiated because of the many serious questions that have been raised about the scientific credibility of the current sludge rule. Scientists within and outside the agency, including scientists from the Centers for Disease Control, results from two hearings by the U.S. House Science Committee, the agency's own Inspector General, last year's NRC report, Strengthening Science at the EPA, the Cornell Waste Management Institute, the California Farm Bureau, several articles in USA Today and Time Magazine, as well as hundreds of citizens across the country all agree that there is something seriously wrong with EPA's sludge policy.
The very last people that should be involved in the new NAS assessment of the adequacy of the current 503 rule, are the very people who have promulgated, promoted, and defended the 503 sludge rule, the very people who have stifled open debate, the very people who have dismissed science-based concerns as myths. Alan Hais is Alan Rubin's supervisor. Dr. Rubin has been investigated and reprimanded by the U.S House Science Committee for intimidating and harassing scientists, state agencies, and private citizens who have expressed their concerns about the adequacy of the current sludge regulations. Time Magazine and the Lexington Institute reported documented evidence that one citizen and an attorney for the California Farm Bureau even received death threats from Rubin. There is documented evidence that he tried to bribe a critic of the current regulations. Yet instead of being reprimanded for his unethical, unprofessional, and possibly illegal behavior, Rubin's 1999 job performance was actually praised by Alan Hais, who described Rubin as the "mainstay of the Agency's regulatory program for biosolids (who) approaches his job with vigor and passion."
Hais's position as liason to this NAS panel is unacceptable. It is just one more factor, together with the unbalanced make-up of this committee, that will almost certainly guarantee that the NAS study will lack objectivity and credibility.
Instead of appointing a program office official as the liason to the NAS, I urge you to assign a credible scientist from your Office of Research & Development, which reviewed the sludge rule. After all, it is the science behind the rule that the NAS is assessing and a scientist should be speaking for the Agency.
Caroline Snyder, Ph.D.
Citizens for a Future New Hampshire
Mark C. Kennedy
Paul M. Giboney, M.S.
Zona G. Myers
Helane and Charlie Shields
Richard and Judy Richardson
Kathy Reilly, M.S., R.N.
Bernard and Kathy Dalsey
James W. Bynum
Bernard L. Oostdam, Ph.D.
Scott and Lori Handshy