Emissions

EPA enforcement chief resigns

Jan. 6, 2003 — John Peter Suarez, the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has submitted his letter of resignation to President George W. Bush.

Suarez informed the President that his resignation would be effective Friday January 30, 2004, and conveyed his appreciation and gratitude to the President for affording him the opportunity to serve the American people during this administration. Suarez has accepted a position with Wal-Mart Inc. in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Suarez was nominated by President Bush in April, 2002, and was confirmed by the Senate to lead the nation’s environmental enforcement efforts on August 1, 2002. Prior to his nomination, Suarez was the director of New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, where he led the state’s law enforcement agency responsible for regulating the casino industry. He was nominated to that position by then-Governor Christine Todd Whitman. Suarez also served as Whitman’s Assistant Counsel, and prior to that was a federal prosecutor in New Jersey.

During his tenure at EPA, Suarez developed and championed the “Smart Enforcement” initiative, an outcome driven approach to environmental enforcement aimed at connecting environmental and public health benefits with the results of enforcement cases. Suarez stated, “I believe that the enforcement program is on the right track and headed in the direction that we need to go. EPA has demonstrated that we can use data effectively to identify and target the most significant areas of non-compliance, and then measure our successes in light of the benefits realized.”

In his letter to the President, Suarez assured the President that “the enforcement and compliance efforts are in good hands at EPA, and . . . [you] can be proud of the work that is being done to protect the citizens of this great nation and the natural resources upon which we all depend.”

Suarez cited the unique career opportunity and his desire to spend more quality time with his family as the reasons behind his decision.