WHAT WENT WRONG:Downstream from the Dow Chemical plant in Midland, Michigan, a plume of highly toxic dioxin spreads nearly 50 miles, contaminating soil and waterways in the floodplain of the Tittabawasee River. It fell to Mary Gade, a lifelong Republican and advisor to and supporter of George W. Bush, to get Dow to clean up the mess in 2007. Faced with corporate foot-dragging and Dow's claim that it was not responsible for the poisonous trail, Gade sought to turn up the heat on the chemical giant--only to come under pressure from EPA brass in Washington.

THE HEAVY: EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson.

THE PRICE: Placed on administrative leave in May, Gade told reporters that the EPA had forced her to resign. Congress is investigating the matter.