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Whitman to Testify About Air Quality After 9/11

NEW YORK - Former EPA director Christine Todd Whitman is set to once again testify before congress regarding the government's handling of air quality issues in the days following the September 11th attacks.

Whitman, a 2-term New Jersey governor, was head of the EPA when the attacks occurred and in the following days made official announcements that the air was safe to breathe. A 2003 report released by the EPA claimed that the assurances were without merit as sufficient post-attack environmental data had not been gathered.

Whitman first testified before a congressional panel in 2003. While she has agreed to testify again, her testimony may be limited because of a developing lawsuit against her and other officials.

Whitman has been named as a defendant in a federal class action lawsuit by Lower Manhattan residents that accuse her of jeopardizing their health by making the now infamous statements. Whitman sought immunity in 2004 from the lawsuit but it was rejected.

Recently a number of first responders and residents have begun developing respiratory conditions that may have been caused by toxic materials that lingered in the air in the days and weeks following 9/11. Tests have shown that the air was not safe but indeed "toxic" and contained unsafe levels of asbestos, mercury, pulverized concrete, and other materials.