Posted by | May 8, 2012 14:52 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Cate Jenkins was the first EPA official to warn of the dangers of the air at the World Trade Center ruins.  Was she rewarded for an insight that was later proven correct? Nope, she was harassed and finally, in 2010, fired.  This week she got her job back:

A federal court ordered that Cate Jenkins, a chemist at the Environmental Protection Agency, be reinstated to her job with back pay.

Her lawyer said the decision, although based on matters of legal process, amounted to vindication for Jenkins’s claims that the EPA had covered up the danger posed to first responders and others in lower Manhattan from the asbestos and highly corrosive dust that rose from the wreckage of the World Trade Center.

It was also a rare victory for whistleblowers, said lawyer Paula Dinerstein. “This doesn’t happen that often.”

Being a whistleblower requires courage and the ability to speak truth to power.  Protecting whistleblowers is one way we ensure accountability for government.

By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.