Bush picks Utah Gov. Leavitt to head EPA
Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, a former Republican senator, also had been mentioned as a candidate for the EPA post. Kempthorne confirmed earlier this month that he had talked with White House officials about the job shortly after Whitman's resignation.
As governor, Leavitt has made several environmental arrangements with the Bush administration, most recently settling a long-standing dispute over ownership of roads across federal land. He has also negotiated several exchanges of state and federal land, some of them questioned by Interior Department auditors.
Administration officials described Leavitt, the nation's longest serving governor, as a leader on environmental issues with a record of improving air and water and conserving land. He has been co-chair of the Western Regional Air Partnership, and officials said he was instrumental in bringing together states, tribes, environmentalists and industry to address the problem of brown haze over the Grand Canyon.
Leavitt also oversaw his state's preparations for and hosting of the 2002 Winter Olympics, and since then has served on a presidentially appointed advisory committee on homeland security.
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