Leavitt confirmed as EPA boss

Environmental Protection Agency

The Senate overwhelmingly confirmed Utah Governor Michael Leavitt as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Leavitt, a Republican, won the confirmation today by an 88 to 8 vote. The one-sided tally follows weeks of criticism from Democrats opposing President Bush's environmental policy and puts a noted advocate of information technology in office.

As Utah governor since 1992, Leavitt oversaw aggressive e-government initiatives, such as putting state government services online and increasing state broadband access. He also promoted paperless government projects, including an electronic procurement system for Utah offices.

Leavitt actively opposed the storage of high-level nuclear waste in Utah. He also helped create the Western Regional Air Partnership, which promotes regional strategies for cleaner air.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) was one of many voting in favor of his Utah colleague.

"This is a proud day for me and for all Utahans," Hatch said. "Utahans know that Governor Leavitt took a clean, beautiful, and strong state and made it cleaner, more beautiful, and stronger."

Not all Democrats supported Leavitt's confirmation. One of the main critics, Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), declined to vote.

Leavitt replaces former EPA Administrator Christine Whitman, who resigned from the EPA in May.

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