EPA Administrator Whitman resigns

After two years at odds with the White House over environmental issues, Christine Todd Whitman resigned as chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday.

Whitman, who met with President Bush Tuesday, said in a resignation letter that she needed to spend more time at home with her husband in New Jersey. Her decision will be effective June 27.

The announcement comes only a month after the EPA proposed strict emissions requirements on off-road diesel engines. Because a final rule isn’t scheduled to be published until August, after Whitman leaves office, it is unclear as to whether the change in administration will effect the regulation. Whitman is a strong advocate of reducing emissions through cleaner burning diesel engines and lower-sulfur diesel fuel.

During a CNN interview Wednesday, Whitman said she was proud of the EPA’s work under her leadership.

“I’m leaving now because it’s the appropriate time to do it,” Whitman said in the interview.

A pro-choice moderate and former governor of New Jersey, Whitman was selected by the president to help soften his image and his conservative environmental policies. Bush will be under pressure to choose another moderate to appease both Republican supporters and the growing number of swing voters.

Soon after Whitman joined the Bush administration, she was criticized by both right-wing conservatives and left-wing environmental groups. Because of her views on restricting urban sprawl and preserving natural resources, Whitman often clashed with administration policies.