published August 28, 2001
inquiry may affect EPA job hearing
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Toledoan Paul Jayko’s
battle to regain his job as coordinator of the Marion leukemia
investigation could be a factor in Washington next month when the
Senate is expected to decide whether to confirm former Ohio
Environmental Protection Agency Director Don Schregardus to a
high-level federal job.
Several Democratic senators are
opposed to President Bush’s nomination of Mr. Schregardus as
assistant U.S. EPA administrator for enforcement and compliance
The primary assignment of the job that pays
$130,000 annually is to see that federal environmental regulations
are carried out by the states. That’s something critics allege Mr.
Schregardus fought to prevent in Ohio when he was state EPA director
for both terms of U.S. Sen. George Voinovich’s tenure as
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.), one of two
senators who recently invoked a privilege called a "hold" to delay
She was referring to Mr. Jayko’s claim for
federal whistleblower protection from his employer, the Ohio EPA,
which had taken him off the case and attempted to discipline him for
being forthcoming about details of the leukemia investigation at the
main River Valley school complex. Mr. Jayko won an extensive legal
battle against the agency, and settled the agency’s appeal in
Mr. Voinovich claimed that Ms. Boxer’s view of the
Jayko case has been influenced by liberals.
environmental groups will do everything they can to stop
Schregardus. They’ll find anything, the Jayko case - whatever," he
The Jayko case was heard by Judge Thomas F. Phalen,
Jr., a U.S. Labor Department administrative law judge from
Cincinnati. In his 106-page ruling, issued in October, the judge
claimed evidence shows that Ohio EPA management under Mr.
Schregardus "wanted to do something graduated and far less
effective" than a full investigation in Marion.
Voinovich, in northwest Ohio yesterday touring FirstEnergy Co.’s
Davis-Besse nuclear plant, defended Mr. Schregardus as a "competent"
administrator skilled at enforcing environmental law. Mr. Voinovich
now claims he did not recommend him for the federal job.
Voinovich, who is on the committee that first heard the nomination,
said he recommended Mr. Schregardus to be the EPA’s regional
administrator for the Midwest. That job is based in Chicago, not
The senator said it is no coincidence that Mr.
Schregardus is getting opposition from some East Coast senators,
because of the much-publicized feud over costly ozone regulations
that affect Midwestern power plants. The East Coast has claimed it
cannot reduce its smog until greater restrictions are placed on
coal-fired power plants in the Midwest and South.
they [the East Coast] used us as the whipping boy for not doing what
they were supposed to be doing themselves," Mr. Voinovich