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SENATE DELAY PROMPTS NOMINEE FOR KEY POST IN EPA TO WITHDRAW

Faced with strong opposition from majority Democrats in the Senate and a committee chairman promising to give him a hard time, Donald Schregardus has withdrawn as President Bush's nominee to head enforcement at the Environment Protection Agency.

"It is clear to me . . . that my nomination will not be considered by the U.S. Senate in a timely manner," Schregardus said.

Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., chairman of the Environmental and Public Works Committee, had promised to spend months scrutinizing Schregardus' record as head of Ohio's EPA before allowing a Senate vote on the nomination.

White House spokeswoman Anne Womack said the administration had not asked Schregardus to withdraw.

Jeffords' committee had approved Schregardus' nomination Aug. 1. A month later, the EPA released a report faulting Ohio's EPA agency, which Schregardus had headed, for not implementing part of a federal acid rain program that would have required power plants in Ohio to spend millions of dollars on pollution abatement.

Sens. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said they would block a Senate vote on Schregardus, citing his efforts to win the dismissal of state lawsuits to force power plants to reduce pollutants blamed for acid rain in the Northeast.

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