Under Bush, the Environmental Protection Agency has become a protection agency for the bad guys.



Most Corrupt Agencies


Skies Clear, EPA Rules

The agency says soot levels in the California's Central Valley have fallen and no new cleanup is needed. Activists and others are skeptical.

By Janet Wilson

LOS ANGELES TIMES, July 7, 2006--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday that air quality in California's smoggy Central Valley has improved substantially in the last three years and proposed declaring it "in attainment" with key federal soot standards.

The declaration would mean that costly cleanup measures would not be required, beyond what has been done....

But environmentalists and public health advocates scoffed at the decision, saying air quality officials were ignoring data from their own monitors that, as recently as November, showed unhealthful, illegal levels of soot that lingered for nearly a week.

"It's either a miracle or a lie," said Kevin Hall of the Sierra Club in the Central Valley, of the assertion that levels of coarse particulate matter have not exceeded legal limits even once for three straight years, which is required for a region to be in compliance with the Clean Air Act. "If we can't trust the agency to adequately monitor the air pollution, then we can't tartars their declarations of attainment, and the bottom line for people in the valley is the level of suffering continues."

The Central Valley has struggled for years with some of the nation's worst air quality.

© 2006 Los Angeles Times

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Court Rejects EPA's Loosening of Air Rule

By James Gerstenzang

LOS ANGELES TIMES, March 18, 2006, WASHINGTON--Dealing a sharp setback to the Bush administration, a federal appeals court Friday threw out a controversial regulation in the federal government's clean-air program that would have allowed older factories, refineries and power plants to install new equipment without using the most modern anti-pollution devices.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which decides some of the most far-reaching cases dealing with federal regulations, said the Environmental Protection Agency had relied on "Humpty Dumpty" reasoning in arriving at a rule that critics said would have eased enforcement of a law intended to reduce industrial air pollution.

If the regulation were allowed to take effect, the court said, "a law intended to limit increases in air pollution would allow sources operating below applicable emission limits to increase significantly the pollution they emit without government review."

California and 13 other states had challenged the EPA ruling.

The Clean Air Act requires major industrial sites that modernize their equipment to install the most modern pollution-reducing devices. But in August 2003, the Bush administration altered enforcement of the regulation to allow companies to avoid installing the most expensive new emissions-cutting equipment if the price of the modernization was less than 20% of what it would cost to replace a major component of the plant.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.) said the administration's rule was "nothing more than a free ride for polluters."

New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer, whose office played a leading role in opposing the rule, called the decision "an enormous victory for clean air and for the enforcement of the law, and an overwhelming rejection of the Bush administration's efforts to gut the law."

Spitzer's top environmental lawyer, Peter Lehner, said 800 power plants and up to 17,000 factories nationwide would be affected.

© 2006 Los Angeles Times

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EPA Panel Advises Agency Chief to Think Again

Irate scientists say the administrator ignored or misconstrued their recommendations in proposed new rules on soot and dust pollution.

By Janet Wilson

LOS ANGELES TIMES, February 4, 2006--In an unprecedented action, the Environmental Protection Agency's own scientific panel on Friday challenged the agency's proposed public health standards governing soot and dust.

The Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, mandated by Congress to review such proposals, asserted Friday that the standards put forward by EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson ignored most of the committee's earlier recommendations and could lead to additional heart attacks, lung cancer and respiratory ailments....

In December, Johnson proposed to slightly tighten the health standards that state and local governments must meet in regulating industries and other sources of pollution. But those standards, governing the smallest and most hazardous particles of soot, were substantially weaker than the scientists' recommendations.

Johnson also proposed to exempt rural areas and mining and agriculture industries from standards governing larger coarse particles, and he declined to adopt the panel's proposed haze reduction standards.

EPA officials are taking public comment on the proposed rules through April and plan to meet a court deadline to adopt final standards by September.

Some panel members called the administrator's actions "egregious" and said his proposals "twisted" or "misrepresented" their recommendations.

It was the first time since the committee was established under the Clean Air Act nearly 30 years ago that the committee had asked the EPA to change course, according to EPA staffers and committee members.

"We're in uncharted waters here," acknowledged committee Chairwoman Rogene Henderson, an inhalation toxicologist. She said their action was necessary because "the response of the administrator is unprecedented in that he did not take our advice. It's most unusual for him not to take the advice of his own scientific advisory body."

EPA staffers told the panel Friday that they were gathering new studies to evaluate before a final decision was made. Karen Martin of the EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards said there would not be time for the panel or public to comment on the EPA's future findings on the new studies before the rules were finalized.

© 2006 Los Angeles Times

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EPA's 9/11 Air Ratings Distorted, Report Says

By Elizabeth Shogren

LOS ANGELES TIMES, August 23, 2003, WASHINGTON--In the days after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, White House officials persuaded the Environmental Protection Agency to minimize its assessment of the dangers posed by airborne dust and debris from the skyscrapers' collapse, according to an internal agency report.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality "convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones" from news releases, said the report by the EPA's inspector general office, an internal watchdog.

For instance, a draft EPA news release for Sept. 16, 2001, warned that the air near the attack site could contain higher levels of asbestos, a carcinogen, than is considered safe.

After input from the White House environmental council, the release as issued by the EPA said the asbestos levels met government standards and were "not a cause for public concern."

The report also concluded that the
EPA lacked sufficient data and analyses when, on Sept. 18, it announced that the air in Lower Manhattan was safe to breathe.

At the time, air-monitoring data was not yet available for pollutants such as particulate matter and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, the report stated.

It said the EPA should have qualified its assertion, warning that the air was not safe for children, the elderly or cleanup workers at the site that became known as ground zero.

The report also criticizes the EPA for failing to more actively address indoor air pollution. The dust settled in furniture, curtains, rugs and air vents in nearby buildings.

Many months after the attacks, residents continued to complain of health problems such as chronic coughs, which health experts say were caused by corrosive concrete dust, ground glass and other lung irritants.

Nine Lavin, a jewelry designer who lives in Lower Manhattan, developed chronic bronchitis and moved into a hotel for 10 months after high levels of asbestos were detected in her apartment. She said Friday she was not surprised by the EOA inspector general's conclusions.

"You couldn't be in this neighborhood at the time and think the air was OK," Lavin said. "I am grateful that the report has, against all odds, come out revealing some of the truth."

Although her apartment was cleaned, the EPA refused to scrub the ventilation system in the 460-unit building, she said.

© 2006 Los Angeles Times

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EPA Watches Water Boil

Excerpt from LOS ANGELES TIMES article, "Warning: This Bill Could Make You Sick," by Al Meyerhoff and Carl Pope

March 21, 2006--Teflon [is] ubiquitous in consumer products from pots to carpets. A science advisory board of the federal Environmental Protection Agency--after much laboratory research--this month said Teflon's main ingredient, perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, is "likely to be carcinogenic" in humans.

What did the EPA do? Call for yet more research. Meanwhile, one study found that 96% of American children have PFOA in their blood.

AL MEYERHOFF, a former director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's public health program, is now a lawyer in private practice in Los Angeles. CARL POPE, the executive director of the Sierra Club, was one of the original drafters of California Proposition 65, requiring that companies either warn consumers of dangerous chemicals in foods or remove them. It was passed overwhelmingly by voters in 1986.

© 2006 Los Angeles Times

Under Bush, the "Environmental Protection Agency" has become a protection agency for the bad guys.

Original content © 2006 Most


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