Quayle aide helps modify EPA regulation, aiding utility in which he owns stock Actions rile congressman, mirror earlier case

December 06, 1991|By Boston Globe

WASHINGTON — (TC WASHINGTON -- Vice President Dan Quayle's deputy chief of staff, already under fire for reviewing federal regulations that could benefit a company he co-owns, has a second possible conflict of interest involving his stock ownership in one of the nation's most polluting electric companies, a congressman said yesterday.

Allan B. Hubbard appears to have "a direct conflict of interest" because he chaired a meeting at which an acid rain regulation was weakened to the possible benefit of PSI Resources Inc. of Indiana, said Representative Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif.

Mr. Hubbard owns $15,000 to $50,000 in PSI stock, according to his financial disclosure report.

Mr. Hubbard chaired the meeting in his capacity as executive director of the vice president's Council on Competitiveness, which critics have accused of weakening environmental regulations at the behest of business lobbyists.

Mr. Waxman said that after PSI complained to the Environmental Protection Agency on Aug. 14 that an acid rain regulation would "greatly impact" the company, Mr. Hubbard directed an Oct. 16 meeting at which it was proposed that the regulation be weakened to allow more pollution.

"These facts suggest a direct conflict of interest on the part of Mr. Hubbard," said a report produced by the congressman's staff.

Two weeks ago, it was reported that Mr. Hubbard has been involved in revising federal clean air laws at the same time that he is half-owner of World Wide Chemical Co. of Indiana, which could be affected by the revision.

Indianapolis officials say that World Wide is operating in violation of local air pollution laws, and that World Wide could benefit from Mr. Hubbard's revision of the federal laws.

His stake in the company is worth more than $1 million, and he has earned more than $2 million in dividends from World Wide Chemical in the last two years.

Mr. Hubbard has declined comment. A Quayle spokesman, Jeff Nesbit, said yesterday that Mr. Waxman's charges about Mr. Hubbard's ownership in PSI were part of a "witch hunt" designed to undermine the Council on Competitiveness.

"Mr. Hubbard fully disclosed his holdings to PSI," Mr. Nesbit said. "They are very small relative to his net worth. This was hardly a secret."

Mr. Waxman, chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health and the Environment, is scheduled Tuesday to hold hearings on whether Mr. Hubbard's governmental actions have improperly benefited his financial interests.

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