POLITICO reporter Robin Bravender released a story on Friday saying that EPA spokesperson Brendan Gilfillan promised that EPA would "look into" the allegations of the open letter the National Whistleblowers Center released last week. Gilfillan told Bravender that Jackson is “deeply committed to issues of environmental justice, civil rights and a healthy workplace for all.” NWC's open letter alleges that Rafael DeLeon, director of EPA's Office of Civil Rights, made a series of offensive remarks. These remarks called Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and Susan Morris "pink elephants." Bravender reports that this term "was popularized by Sarah Palin, who used it to refer to a stampede of women outraged about policies in Washington." NWC also alleges that DeLeon said Dr. Coleman-Adebayo held herself out like the "Rosa Parks of EPA," and that he referred to a lapdance at an office party.
Dr. Coleman-Adebayo is an environmental whistleblower who raised concerns about the dangers of vanadium mining in South Africa. When her concerns focused on the role of U.S. companies in apartheid South Africa she became the victim of a hostile work environment. Ms. Morris raised concerns about EPA’s compliance with the Civil Rights Act and then suffered a removal from her supervisory position.
Bravender interviewed Dr. Coleman-Adebayo about her experience working for DeLeon. Dr. Coleman-Adebayo reported that her transfer to DeLeon's office was essential a set up to be discharged. Dr. Coleman-Adebayo is writing a book about her experiences at the EPA. Called, “No Fear: A Whistleblower's Triumph Over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA,” it is due in September.
Bravender reports that when Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), released the Deloitte Consulting report which finds problems with OCR, she praised DeLeon for his "energy and experience." Jackson appointed DeLeon to direct OCR last December.
Bravende's story isavailable
on-line to subscribers of POLITICO Pro.