Washington, D.C.--The Senate today, in a strong showing of bipartisanship, voted overwhelmingly to approve Gov. Mike Leavitt to be the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The final vote was 88 to 8.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, which responsible for moving the nomination through the Senate, released the following statement:

“I don’t think anyone is surprised by today’s vote, as Mike Leavitt is one of the most highly qualified and experienced individuals ever nominated for this job. Today’s vote confirms what I have been saying about this nomination for some time: that if we could remove partisan presidential politics from the debate, we could show that Mike Leavitt enjoys overwhelming bipartisan support. I think the 88 members of the Senate, Democrats and Republicans, who voted yes today proved that.

“I would note that some of the members who blocked this nomination refused to speak their minds or cast their votes on the Senate floor today. To me, this shows a fundamental lack of respect for the nominee, and I believe in some instances Gov. Leavitt was treated unfairly and unduly harshly throughout the nominating process.

“I look forward to working with Gov. Leavitt when he assumes leadership at EPA. President Bush has amassed an impressive environmental record on a wide array of issues, and I’m confident Gov. Leavitt will continue that record for the good of the American public and the environment.”