Former Environmental Protection Agency head Christine Todd Whitman can be sued in her personal capacity for telling the citizens of New York City that it was safe to return downtown in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Southern District Judge Deborah Batts ruled Thursday that Whitman is not entitled to qualified immunity for her comments indicating the air was safe to breathe, including a Sept. 13, 2001, press release in which Whitman said the “EPA is greatly relieved to have learned that there appears to be no significant levels of asbestos dust in the air in New York City.”

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