Science rides in the back seat at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Politics not only sits up front, it drives decisions within the agency and policies that affect the nation.
A recent example was the EPA's decision, at the request of the White House, to declare New York City's air safe to breathe in the days immediately following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks; the EPA's tests had contradicted that finding.
So it is not surprising that President Bush would pick a politician -- Republican Gov. Michael Leavitt of Utah -- rather than a scientist, to head the agency. Just disappointing.
Supporters praise Leavitt as a consensus- builder who can …