PEERMail: Passing the Torch

Dear PEER Members,

As all good things come to end, so too has my tenure as PEER Executive Director.

It has been my distinct honor and almost unalloyed pleasure to have led PEER since 1997.  The next PEER-Mail you receive will come from our new Executive Director, Tim Whitehouse, a former EPA enforcement attorney and veteran eco-activist.  Tim was our Search Committee’s consensus top pick and we are very excited to have him take the reins.

I will be returning to California to open a new PEER field office based in Oakland to serve the five state Pacific Region (CA, OR, WA, AK, & HI) starting in May.  So, I will still be working with my colleagues here and in our other field offices.

In addition to my co-workers are the public servants I have been privileged to serve. As a service organization with the motto of “Protecting Employees Who Protect Our Environment”, PEER occupies a unique place in the environmental movement.  These public employees are our target environmental resource.  They are not merely clients, they are collaborators and friends, and above all, they are peers.

We have a saying at PEER that the “employees are the brains and we’re the stationery.” Well, these conscientious public servants are not just the brains but our heart and soul, as well.

Happy Trails,

Jeff Ruch
Pacific PEER Director


Dear PEER Members,

I would like to introduce myself to you. I am Tim Whitehouse the new Executive Director of PEER.

As a former EPA enforcement attorney, I know both personally and professionally the importance of PEER. I am thrilled to join the dedicated PEER team at this moment because, in these unprecedented times, PEER is needed now more than ever.

While our personnel will change our mission has not. PEER exists to help courageous public servants better protect our planet and serve the public. We defend them when they are under assault and help them alert the public to perils. To these ends, we continue our work to –

  • Protect science and scientists, especially those working on climate change issues from obstruction;
  • Promote enforcement of public health and environmental laws; and
  • Preserve and expand our rich public lands heritage while acting to prevent privatization of key government functions and public resources.

You will be hearing from me on these and many other issues. As we move forward, I am thankful for the wonderful team Jeff Ruch has established at PEER and that we will still be able to draw upon Jeff’s unique talents and deep institutional memory.

These are challenging times – stay tuned.


Tim Whitehouse
Executive Director


PFAS Palooza
PFAS toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances called PFAS have become the nation’s newest clean water calamity. Contained in firefighting foam, among other uses, PFAS are potent toxins that do not breakdown in the environment (hence they are called the “Forever Chemical”) and bioaccumulate in the food chain.

Hundreds of communities in several states have dangerously PFAS-contaminated drinking water. As the biggest PFAS polluter, the Department of Defense has yet to fully accept responsibility. For example, PEER has shown that the Pentagon has not even informed some afflicted communities. But we are making some progress in inducing responsible military branches to do the right thing.

EPS = Everything’s Already Polluted

Like the janitor who doesn’t do windows, EPA is an environmental protection agency that no longer prosecutes polluters. If it detects violations (also becoming increasingly less likely), the agency will not punish the offender. Instead, it will offer the corporate offender free technical assistance to achieve the state of compliance. See what a colossally bad idea this is.

Our Latest Eco-Champion

Brian McKenna is an environmental anthropologist who enlisted PEER to help him sound the alarm about chronic water quality violations when he worked at the Ingham County Health Department to conduct an analysis of environmental issues within Lansing, Michigan. Watch his story.

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