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EPA Official Being Dismissed in Dispute with Chief

April 22, 1995

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Peter Kostmayer, a former Pennsylvania congressman, is on his way out as head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic region after clashes with EPA Administrator Carol Browner, the agency says.

EPA spokesman David Cohen said Friday that Kostmayer would leave his post as administrator of the EPA’s Region III on June 1. Kostmayer was not available Friday for comment.

Environmentalists accused Browner of firing Kostmayer because he had aggressively challenged a proposed $1 billion paper mill in West Virginia and construction of a four-lane highway linking that state with Virginia.

Pressure had been put on the White House and Browner by West Virginia’s two Democratic senators _ Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller _ and the state’s governor, Gaston Caperton, to rein in Kostmayer or get rid of him.

The agency officially provided no additional details.

But a senior EPA official, speaking on the condition he not be identified, said the decision was made because of ``numerous complaints about Mr. Kostmayer’s managerial style from both EPA staff and many citizens and organizations outside of EPA.″

Earlier this week, the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail quoted Browner as acknowledging a rift with Kostmayer. ``It’s a disagreement over how to work with people. It would be best if he looked for opportunities outside the agency,″ she told the newspaper.

Browner could not be reached for comment Friday.

``With Kostmayer we finally had a feeling somebody was listening to us and attempting to do the right thing,″ said Kim Baker, past president of the West Virginia Environmental Council. The group has been opposed to the proposed paper mill.

The region’s headquarters is in Philadelphia. It covers Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

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