From Inside the EPA (by subscription only):
EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson has created a new, high-level position to oversee homeland security activities at the agency as it faces questions from Bush administration officials and lawmakers about whether it has the expertise — or funding — to implement domestic security operations….
In a May 1 memo to all EPA employees, Johnson named Tom Dunne, deputy chief of Office of Solid Waste & Emergency Response (OSWER) and former Region X administrator, as the first associate administrator for the Office of Homeland Security. Two other members of OSWER are joining Dunne in the transition, EPA sources say. The office was created by former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman after the 9/11 attacks, but it is now being elevated to a level equal to other program offices.
Dunne will now be the point person within EPA in coordinating the agency’s response to catastrophic events, developing agency-wide policies and recommendations on the resources EPA needs for homeland security purposes. Dunne also will be the lead official in interactions with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the White House Homeland Security Council, Johnson said.
This decision makes a lot of sense, given EPA’s key role on homeland security issues such as water and wastewater security, chemical plant security, and post-disaster cleanup of contaminated areas, and should improve its ability to coordinate with DHS on these issues.