september.jpgFormer NJ Governor and onetime EPA head in the Bush administration, Christine Todd Whitman, initially refused to appear before Congress to testify about the agency's post-9/11 assurances that air quality was safe in downtown Manhattan. A day later, she changed her mind and now says that she'll testify before a committee if its members insist upon it.

"I am extremely proud of the EPA's work in response to the terrorist attacks on our nation on Sept. 11, 2001. The men and women of the EPA were -- and are -- dedicated to protecting the health of the American public and I will be pleased to answer any questions the subcommittee might have about their efforts during my tenure as director of the agency," Whitman wrote Nadler.

Whitman said, however, she couldn't attend the hearing scheduled for next Tuesday in Washington, D.C.; Nadler said he would reschedule it to find a time that Whitman could attend.

A U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that government officials could not be held liable for statements they made regarding air quality following the 2001 attacks. Several months ago, the son of a police officer made several public appearances urging for aid to ailing first responders, as his father was dying on the eve of Bush's State of the Union address. It was later revealed that the now-deceased man didn't actually spend much time at Ground Zero. Gothamist ran an opinion piece on the health fallout after 9/11 in February 2006.

(September 11, 2001, by wallyg at flickr)