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EPA Report No Surprise: Agency Stymied By Bush Administration

 

By James Donahue

 

An Associated Press report that hundreds of Environmental Protection Agency scientists complain of “political interference and pressure” from superiors to “skew” their findings confirms what many of us have suspected since the day George W. Bush took office.

 

That agency, created to be a government watchdog over harmful industrial and residential pollutants that threaten the earth, has been lying unusually dormant since Bush took office in 2001.

 

The story said more than half of the nearly 1,600 EPA staff scientists who responded to an online questionnaire by the Union of Concerned Scientists reported incidents of political interference on the job.

 

Agency director Francesca Grifo deemed the EPA as “an agency in crisis” with low morale among the scientists. The study found that government researchers are generally continuing to do their work, but their scientific findings are tossed aside when it comes time to write regulations, the story said.

 

This information is significant because the EPA has been under fire by Congress for its failures to step up, especially in determining if carbon dioxide should be regulated to combat global warming.

 

Such regulation would, of course, prove costly to U.S. industry and especially the electric companies that are still operating outdated coal-fired generating plants. And Bush, whose tenure in office was bought and paid for by big business interests, have gone out of his way to protect his real employers (they aren’t us) and give them what they paid for.

 

A Mother Jones story noted that “no president has gone after the nation’s environmental laws with the same fury as George W. Bush – and none has been so adept at staying under the radar.”

 

Operating quietly, through executive order, Bush moved quietly after taking office to gut key sections of the Clean Water and Clean Air acts, laws that have traditionally had bipartisan support and have given the EPA its teeth in protecting the environment as well as the health of the American people.

 

Bush also crippled the Superfund program, which was essential in helping pay to clean up millions of pounds of toxic industrial waste after years of neglect. Many of these sites were products of old industrial activity by companies that no longer exist and consequently can no longer be held accountable.

 

The Mother Jones story charged that the current administration also “has sought to cut the EPA's enforcement division by nearly one-fifth, to its lowest level on record; fines assessed for environmental violations dropped by nearly two-thirds in the administration's first two years; and criminal prosecutions-the government's weapon of last resort against the worst polluters-are down by nearly one-third.”

 

Bush will go down in history as an administration that abdicated an old established federal responsibility to protect native animals and plants from extinction.

 

His administration has opened millions of acres of protected and environmentally sensitive public lands to logging, mining and gas and oil drilling.

 

Bush has openly denied the existence of global warming, censored scientific reports that support the threat, and walked away from the Kyoto agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions after it was hammered out by the United States and other nations while Bill Clinton was in office.

 

This man is so vile an earth criminal we believe he may have put us all in great jeopardy by his refusal to act and by blocking action by other agencies designed to protect us.