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Head of Toxic Control Panel Resigns

July 14, 2004|Miguel Bustillo | Times Staff Writer

The head of California's Department of Toxic Substances Control has resigned after learning he was going to be fired by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Ed Lowry, a Democrat appointed by former Gov. Gray Davis in 1999, said he had asked Schwarzenegger's secretary of environmental protection, Terry Tamminen, whether he had a future as director of the department, which regulates hazardous waste and oversees the cleanup of contaminated land.

Lowry had yet to hear a response when an employee in his personnel office told him the Schwarzenegger administration was preparing the paperwork to award the job to one of his deputies, Republican B.B. Blevins.

Lowry said he then confronted Tamminen last week and "asked him whether I was going to be reappointed or not, and he told me the decision was made to go with someone else. But he said it might not take place for a while.

"I told him that if that was the decision they had made, then I would leave right away."

Lowry served his last day on Monday. In an e-mail informing his staff members of his departure, he said he was proud of a new program they had instituted to clean up tainted school sites. He said he had enjoyed working with Tamminen and planned to help Blevins, a former member of the state's energy commission, get situated.

Schwarzenegger administration officials, however, later said they had not determined who would replace Lowry, Lowry said.

"The administration has received Mr. Lowry's resignation," Schwarzenegger spokesman Vince Sollitto said. "The governor thanks him for his service. He has not yet made an appointment to that position."

Lowry said he did not think the administration's decision was shaped by any disagreements over his handling of environmental issues. Some environmentalists said Tuesday they had favorable opinions of both Lowry and Blevins.

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