Richard Piatt ReportingFormer Governor Mike Leavitt is in Utah tonight, traveling on business as Administrator of the EPA. Political reporter Richard Piatt caught up with Leavitt, who says his duties in the Bush administration are challenging him both personally and politically.
Michael Leavitt is having a busy homecoming, re-connecting with Utahns for the first time in nine months. On KSL's 'Doug Wright Show', callers seemed interested in how Leavitt is doing at the EPA.
Mike Leavitt: “It’s a hard job, but I’m enjoying it. It think it’s stretching us.”
These days, Mike Leavitt is a frequent visitor to the White House for policy meetings. He travels a lot; sometimes his schedule has him on the West Coast one day, back to the White House the next, and then to the midwest that afternoon. And there are environmental issues on a national and global scale that he finds overlap a lot with other hot topics.
Mike Leavitt: "We talk about energy policy and we're really talking about environmental policy. We talk about transportation policy, but we're really talking about environmental policy."
But Leavitt says he is able to run the massive EPA on his own.
Mike Leavitt: "Ninety-nine percent of the things that happen in the environmental protection agency, I'm able to move forward on based on my own instincts or judgements, based on policies that have been established in the federal government."
Leavitt is also in hot the hot seat when it comes to the President's environmental record this campaign season.
Coincidentally, John Kerry's national chairwoman was in Utah today, at one point saying the President has reversed many pollution policies without input, favoring business and not the public.
Jeanne Shaheen, National Chair, Kerry For President Campaign: "This is a president who has not respected the environment and who has not understood the impact that has on people's lives."
Mike Leavitt: "The air is getting cleaner, the water is getting more pure, the land is better cared for than it was three and a half years ago."
Leavitt dismisses reports he is in line for a promotion to the Interior Department, fully planning to stay with his tough job at the EPA if the President is re-elected. Leavitt won't comment on his future goals, claiming he is putting his own political future on hold in order to make sure the President is re-elected.