Whitman’s Rudy Testimony

Former Environmental Protection Agency head Christie Whitman defended her agency’s handling of the clean-up at Ground Zero, telling a congressional hearing today that, “I and other E.P.A. officials publicly urged rescue and recovery workers to wear respiratory gear that E.P.A. had secured.”

She went on to tell Congress that the city took responsibility for the clean-up at Ground Zero, and didn’t enforce the same safety standards that the E.P.A. enforced during the clean-up at the stie of the terrorist attack at the Pentagon.

When asked why that same standard wasn’t applied in New York, Whitman said in a television interview yesterday that, “It wasn’t nearly as clear who was in charge.”

Whitman’s claims are being watched closely by Rudy Giuliani, whose presidential campaign is built largely on his response to those attacks. And the campaign has already undertaken a preemptive push-back against Whitman.