Bush's Envioronmental Record
WTO Trade Agreements Supersede U.S. Environmental Laws
Red Slime in fish products; Pink Slime in ground meats
Roundup, Monsanto's Scientific Fraud
Caspain Sea oil drilling blowout by BP, and others
Ever hundred years California's Mega Flood
BUSH's (neoconservatives) Environmental Record
Artic Melt Down--23% for 07-08
EPA libraries closed tight by Bush
Bush's Envioronmental Record
Gulf Stream flow down 30%
Protecting New Orleans--Scientific American
EU Energy Policies
No More Environmental Cleanups, Superfund is Dry
MERCURY EMISSIONS: environment & legislation
Environmental collapse of Easter Island--Jared Diamond
cartoons political
More on government priority cartoons
more cartoons
Organic Farming Comparison
Animal Feed Laws
Bush and the Endanger Species Act
Republicans stop toxic site clean up
Bush's Environmental Record--Al Franken
Pied Piper & Environmental Policy--Hightower
Death stats on first atomic energy experiments
Rabbits cruelly butchered, USDA regulation changed
Meat Consumption and Risk of Colorectal Cancer
LEAD SOLDER--environmental activitism at its worst


Bush's Environmental Record

At http://www.foxriverwatch.com/nrda/bush_record.html Fox River Watch is a Green Bay which opposes the pollution of the Fox River by the paper mills.  Most of their articles are on PCB. 

Misleading the Public  The Bush Administration shows more finesse than previous Administrations in disguising its anti-environmental agenda. The "bait and switch" method has been used repeatedly.  They promise one thing, then a month or a year later quietly do the opposite, often with little media explanation of the turn-about.  Examples: wetlands, carbon dioxide, ANWR, mining, roadless areas, and air pollution lawsuits. 

Legal Inaction  Bush often publicly proclaims support for an environmental regulation while privately working to weaken it under the cloak of litigation.  Here's how it works:  Industry sues to overturn environmental regulations and the Justice Department, led by Attorney General John Ashcroft, puts up only the feeblest of defenses and refuses to appeal adverse decisions.  Then the Bush Administration can blame the decision on the judge, and make political points for "trying." 

Office of Management and Budget  The President's OMB is targeting 13 guidelines on environmental protection for change or abolishment, (plus another 10 related to workplace and food-labeling requirements.)    This is not normal behavior for the OMB.  This is a new effort by the Bush Admin.  Industry groups and conservative "think tanks" nominated 12 of the 13 environmental rules on the list.  The American Chemistry Council nominated a rule about the handling of the products of hazardous-waste treatment. The Mercatus Institute, a market-oriented research institute, nominated a rule restricting snowmobiles in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, plus 9 other rules.  The American Petroleum Institute nominated rules requiring companies to tell the government if they manufacture or handle toxic substances.   The agencies which now implement the rules can decide whether to accept OMB's "suggestions," but OMB has tremendous power over agencies because it can veto other rules agencies would like to enact.  A key staffer within OMB, John Graham, Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs  was a controversial appointment for Bush, because of his emphasis on cost-benefit standards, which are often inappropriate (or impossible to calculate) for environmental, workplace or food-safety issues.

Budget Cuts  Last year, Bush cut EPA's budget by $500 million, but was partly blocked by Congress.  This year, Bush proposes to cut $40 million from the Bureau of Land Management, $33 million from the Bureau of Reclamation, and $112 million from the Forest Service.

Enforcement Undercut   Eric Schaeffer, EPA's Director of the Office of Regulatory Enforcement (a 12-year veteran who has received awards for his work quality), recently resigned in protest saying he was "tired of fighting a White House that seems determined to weaken the
rules that we are trying to enforce."   He said energy industry lobbyists were helping to write proposals to weaken air-pollution regulations for older coal power plants.   The Bush Administration's stance has interfered in lawsuit settlement negotiations with 8 major power utilities.  The industries hope to get a better deal from Bush, so negotiations have stalled. 

Schaeffer said, "The big problem is the Dept. of Energy's been put in the front seat on these decisions. Their client is the power industry and our perspective is this is an environmental enforcement matter and I don't think they have a place in those negotiations, but there they are."  The Cheney energy task force directed EPA to review whether the rule substantially impeded power generation and to recommend any reforms.

This year, Bush's proposed budget would cut EPA inspection staff by 18 percent next year, and civil enforcement staff will decline 11% over 2001 levels.  Republican Senator James Inhofe said "the White House is addressing an overzealous agency whose strict enforcement of air pollution rules has sometimes done more harm than good."  He supported claims by the coal-fired electricity industry that "stringent modernization rules are actually discouraging plant owners from upgrading pollution controls."  (Utilities have benefited for years from loopholes which "grandfather" old plants like the Pulliam on the Fox River.   If they think this is a problem, why don't they eliminate the loophole instead of blocking EPA enforcement?) 

Personnel Purge at BLM  Experienced high-level staff in the Bureau of Land Management (under Interior Secy. Norton) have been reassigned to inappropriate jobs which weaken or eliminate their influence in the western states, as retaliation because special interests claimed they "favored environmental interests too much in their approach to overseeing public land."   For example: 3 were moved after they restricted cattle grazing, mining or off-road vehicles on sensitive public lands.

Eliminated EPA Ombudsman  Until Bush, the federal government had it's own version of a "Public Intervenor," called the "EPA Ombudsman" (except this person was not allowed to sue agencies to force compliance with laws.)  This one person was to independently respond to citizen complaints about EPA actions.  His power lay in his in-depth investigations which disputed costs, investigated health issues, and exposed pork barrel politics, making him unpopular among EPA officials.    The Bush Administration used the same slight-of-hand used in Wisconsin to eliminate the Public Intervenor.  Rather than honestly eliminating the office, Bush neutralized the Ombudsman by moving him into the EPA Inspector General's Office (similar to local Republicans' moving the Wisconsin Public Intervenor into the DNR, where the office became instantly ineffective.)  Rather than move, the EPA Ombudsman resigned in protest.

Turning Federal Authority Over to Local Governments   Bush opposes federal environmental mandates, preferring a "local approach," but this leads to extreme inconsistencies between states, and allows corporations to play one state against another, forcing states to weaken their environmental standards in order to retain and attract business investments.  We need a level playing field coordinated by the federal government with consistent science-based standards.  Local governments often lack the technical expertise and budgets to address complex environmental problems.  Why should local governments have to spend more taxdollars to reinvent the wheel, when one or two agencies at the federal level can do the work for everyone?   A federal system is more efficient and fair.

Global Warming  During his campaign, Bush pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  After assuming office, he reneged and pulled the U.S. out of the 1997 international Kyoto Treaty to reduce emissions that contribute to global warming, despite strong memos from EPA Administrator Whitman urging him to not abandon his pledge.   He lied to the American people. (Ultimately, 178 other countries did sign the Treaty.)    If he had been honest with voters, he would not be in the President's office.  More recently, Bush belittled his own EPA report showing that Global Warming was indeed a real threat.  He dismissed the report as a product of "the bureaucracy." 

Energy Plan   Bush is a former oil company owner and executive.  Vice President Cheney, former CEO of Halliburton Industries, a major oil corporation, has spearheaded a national energy plan obsessed with promoting the oil and gas industry.  (During the 2000 campaign, Cheney denied that Halliburton had a business relationship with Saddam Hussein. The Washington Post has since revealed that two Halliburton subsidiaries were doing business with Iraq.)  Cheney is also at the center of a scandal due to his hundreds of secret meetings with energy corporations (such as Enron) and his refusal to meet with any environmental representatives.  The Bush Administration has refused to release the records from those meetings.  Not surprisingly, the resulting Bush Energy Plan promotes expanded oil and gas exploration, and coal-fired and nuclear power, instead of conservation, efficiency and renewable sources.  At the same time, Bush cut funding for research into renewable energy sources by 50%.  Kenneth Lay, of Enron fame, used his close relationship with Bush to pressure the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to speed up energy deregulation, and provided Bush with a list of preferred candidates for key commission posts.  Bush and Cheney relied on Lay for advice; some administration appointees had first to be "interviewed" by Lay before getting the job.  Many former Enron employees now work in key federal positions.

Vehicle Gas Mileage Standards  Bush opposed improved gas mileage standards for vehicles when this was before Congress, and cut funding for research into cleaner, more efficient cars and trucks by 28%.  Bush also cancelled the 2004 deadline for auto makers to develop prototype high-mileage cars.

Appliance Efficiency Standards  Bush grabbed headlines for not rescinding Clinton's order to improve energy efficiency standards for washing machines and water heaters, but several news articles failed to mention that Bush DID block Clinton's rule mandating such improvements for air conditioners.   Air conditioners are heavy and often wasteful energy users, especially during peak summer demand periods which lead to the need for new power plants.

Offshore Drilling  Bush proposed new off-shore drilling projects at coastal sites around the country.  Sites off Florida's eastern shore were about to be auctioned off, but the proposal was dropped instantly when Bush's brother Jeb (Florida's Governor) objected.  Other states also objected, but Bush has continued to push for drilling in politically weaker (and most Democratic) areas. 

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge  This is a well-known issue.  Last year, Bush grabbed headlines by pledging that he would not pursue drilling in the refuge, then he reversed himself and became the leading champion of this boondoggle project.  Luckily, Congress has voted so far to block the project, but it keeps appearing as a rider on other legislation.  Citizens must stay vigilant.

National Forest Drilling  Bush has announced plans to allow oil drilling in Montana's Lewis and Clark National Forest.

Arsenic  A well-known fiasco. Bush was more concerned about costs than public health, and was lobbied by local officials equally warped.  The media often reported Bush's decision as an arsenic "reduction" when it was actually an increase over Clinton's directive.  Eventually, public pressure and media attention forced Bush to accept the healthier (but still not fully protective) Clinton standard.

Superfund  Bush cut in half the number of toxic waste sites to be cleaned up across the country.  At the same time, Republican's have consistently blocked the law's funding source, a surcharge on chemical feedstocks and petroleum (the usual sources of hazardous waste), so the fund is running dry.  The loss of the tax forces general taxpayers to pay to cleanup corporate mistakes, and eliminates a lot of the legal leverage the EPA has over polluters.  Now that polluters know the agency is cash poor, they'll be more willing to fight against cleanups and attack Superfund Law as "too slow" (because it's out of money.)  Negotiated cleanups will be much weaker and cheaper.  Neighbors of sites without identifiable polluters will continue to be poisoned because no money is available.

Bad Actors  Bush revoked rules strengthening government authority to deny contracts to companies that violate federal laws, environmental laws, and workplace safety standards.

Land and Water Conservation Fund  During his campaign, Bush pledged to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which purchases development rights or land in environmentally sensitive areas.  Last year, Bush received glowing media tributes for announcing he was increasing LWCF funds.   Full funding requires $900 million a year (split between the feds and states), and Bush claims they've provided $911 million, but conservationists argue only $486 million of that $911 million would go toward LWCF purposes.  The rest would go to other existing programs that Bush renamed as part of the LWCF.  He also eliminated traditional LWCF programs, including an important wildlife grant program and a  program to protect urban parkland.

Diesel Emissions  Bush got media attention for not rescinding Clinton's directive requiring manufacturers of heavy-duty trucks and buses to reduce diesel emissions by more than 90 percent and refiners to reduce sulfur in diesel fuel by 97 percent, to 15 ppm. (In this case, the rule had the support of the powerful automobile industry.)   In other words, Bush got credit for not doing anything.

Endangered Species  In a major precedent-setting move, Bush flagrantly abandoned his responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act and cut protections for fish habitat protections in 4 states, as part of a legal settlement with the National Association of Home Builders and other groups.  This will result in critical habitat destruction for 19 species of threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead trout in California, Oregon, Idaho and Washington.   Numerous other species will also be affected.  "Critical habitat" has been identified by government scientists as essential for the survival of the species.  The Bush Administration said they "wanted a chance to devise new habitat designations after revisiting some key issues."  They deemed the Clinton-era economic analysis "less than acceptable."   Bush also blocked efforts to breach four old dams on the Snake River in Idaho, which biologists have shown block the migrations and breeding of several economically important salmon and steelhead species.   The Army Corps of Engineers promises instead to improve the fish-ladders, but those have already proven inadequate and bound to fail.

Rain Forests  Bush broke his campaign promise to invest $100 million per year in rain forest conservation.

Everglades  Bush brags about his leadership in Everglades restoration, but draft rules for Everglades restoration issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in December attempted to fudge what the actual goals will be for measuring the project's success, fail to set timetables for those goals, and do not specify the amount of water dedicated to Everglades restoration.   Interior Secy. Norton also shut down the federal office for Everglades restoration.

Brownfields  Bush embraced a Clinton initiative to weaken cleanup standards and subsidize cleanup of "abandoned" urban toxic sites, because this bailed out potentially responsible property owners and corporations.   This is hailed by Republicans as "environmental" but in reality is another form of corporate welfare.   Once again, taxpayers pay to cleanup corporate mistakes.

Hudson River PCB Cleanup  Bush grabbed headlines by not rescinding Clinton's proposed plan to cleanup the Hudson River.  Again, he gets credit for doing nothing.  But this plan was only the second-best option presented by EPA and allows PCBs to linger in fish at unsafe levels for 67 years or more.  The best plan would have accomplished this in only 11 years.   The cleanup was strongly promoted by New York's Republican Governor and the State of New Jersey downstream (where EPA Administrator Christine Whitman was Governor).  The Hudson had clear political advantages over the proposed Fox River cleanup.

National Monument Abuse  Bush grabbed headlines by not rescinding Clinton's designation of 18 national monuments, but he asked for state and local responses and is opening the monuments to numerous destructive uses such as oil drilling, grazing, coal mining, and timber harvests.

National Parks  Bush grabbed headlines by touting the $4.9 billion he was seeking for national parks.  But too much of the money, to be spent over 5 years, would go for road building and tourist buildings, and too little to preservation and research.

Mining   Bush reversed Clinton Admin. regulations on mining on public lands that would have given the government veto power over projects deemed harmful to nature. Bush's budget this year proposes 15% ($30 million) less for cleaning up old mines or protecting watersheds affected by surface mining.

Wetlands   Bush grabbed headlines by promising to not to rescind Clinton's directive protecting wetlands.  Then a few months later, Bush gutted wetland protections through actions of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

Road-building in Forests  Bush is abandoning a Clinton directive protecting 58.5 million acres of national forest from road-building and other development.  Last year, after suspending it for several months of review, Bush publicly promised to uphold the roadless rule.  But his legal defense of the rule in court was extremely weak, and he obviously used the court to roll back this popular measure.   When the judge blocked implementation of the rule, Bush failed to appeal the decision.  Then, Bush started a new rule-making process to weaken or eliminate the rule.  Nine separate lawsuits have been filed to challenge the rule, including suits by timber industry associations, off-road vehicle groups, livestock companies and states eager for revenue from development of federal land.  Bush has quietly failed to fight any of them.   While cases go through court, Bush is already removing roadless protections through directives coming from the office of the Forest Service Chief.  Two examples:

Tongass National Forest (AlaskaAbout 2.5 million acres are vulnerable if the roadless rule is abandoned. The Forest Service is currently planning many timber sales there in ecologically rich areas. One site may be Gravina Island, where the Service plans 22 miles of new roads.

Bitterroot National Forest (Montana A federal judge issued an injunction blocking the Administration from 41,000 acres of proposed logging, saying the Forest Service illegally shut the public out of its decision-making process. (Citizens were not allowed any administrative appeal process, despite statutory requirements for such a right.)

Rights of Way on Public Lands  Federal officials and Utah state officials have been holding closed door talks concerning more than 10,000 roads and trails crossing federal lands. These cross national parks, national monuments, national forests, and wilderness areas, including some of Utah's most pristine and environmentally sensitive areas.  Recognition of state claims could relinquish federal authority over these roads and trails, with potentially disastrous consequences for the rights of all U.S. citizens.   Citizen groups have sued to obtain documents concerning the closed-door meetings, alleging that the Dept. of Interior is violating the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to release the documents.

Clean Water Act   Bush's EPA intends to weaken rules which set TMDL's (Total Maximum Daily Loads) of pollutants to bodies of water.  This will remove many waterbodies from programs designed to reduce their pollution by logging, grazing and farming.  Under the Clinton Administration, additional clean water rules were developed to address these unregulated polluters.  Instead of defending the rules in court, Bush asked the court to put all the lawsuits on hold, which the courts agreed to do.  The Administration has since said they intend to change the rules and have been taking input, mostly from industry sources, to bolster support for weakening the Clinton rules. Recently, Bush proposed to allow polluters to buy, sell and trade water pollution credits, as described in last month's newsletter.

Air Pollution Lawsuits  Bush promised to continue pursuing lawsuits against power plants who upgrade old generating plants without installing better pollution controls, but has undercut settlement negotiations and is now rewriting the rule.  The industries have been enjoying a huge loophole for years, with all their old plants grandfathered and exempt from air pollution controls.  But until recently they've been allowed to violate the law and upgrade and STILL not meet modern air pollution controls.  When the government finally enforced the law, the companies started whining that it was "arbitrary."  Yet, they helped write the loophole that they now criticize.  They still want special breaks, while they threaten public health.

Clear Skies Initiative   Bush is grabbing headlines with his "Clear Skies" initiative, which requires reductions of 70 percent in emissions of three of the worst air pollutants (nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury) by 2018.   The measure actually is a weakening of current air pollution regulations.  Critics, including former EPA staff, say EPA could achieve deeper emissions cuts through vigorous enforcement of the current Clean Air Act.  Bush is giving polluters "more flexibility" to reach the required emission cuts.

Sierra Nevada   Bush made a high-profile endorsement of a conservation plan for California's Sierra Nevada, but the next day quietly promised to review (and probably undercut) the plan.

Environmental Education   Bush's 2003 Budget shifts Environmental Education funding from the EPA to the National Science Foundation math and science program, a change based on OMB's assessment that EPA's current EE program "has supported environmental advocacy rather than environmental education" and is therefore "ineffective."  (This is not based on any formal study or evaluation by OMB or EPA.)  The transfer of funds does not include the transfer of activities mandated under the National Environmental Education Act of 1990.  Therefore, the budget not only abolishes EPA's EE  program, which supports inter-disciplinary teaching, but also EPA's annual grants to state agencies, schools, nature centers and other nonprofit entities; a national educator training program; a federal interagency program to coordinate EE across the federal government; the Presidential Environmental Youth Awards program; and funding to support the National EE and Training Foundation (NEETF). 

Fish-eating Advisories  Bush's Food & Drug Administration softened its warning to pregnant women about the dangers of mercury in fish, notably tuna, after pressure from the seafood industry.

Hanford Nuclear  Congress appropriated $1.8 billion for the Hanford Nuclear Reservation Cleanup in Washington State, but DOE won't say whether it's enough to meet its legal obligations in 2002.  Bush allocated $383 million less.
Testing Pesticides on Humans The Clinton Administration had refused to consider results or encourage use of human tests of pesticides (using doses EPA considered hundreds of times higher than levels EPA deemed safe for the general public), due to concerns that such tests were unsafe, useless and unethical.  The Bush Administration said they would evaluate the industry test results as "part of an evolving policy."  Now, due to public outcry, Bush is backpedaling.

Pesticides in Food  Bush is taking credit for not rescinding Clinton's decision to let stand a pesticide reduction plan reached in a consent decree between the EPA and the Natural Resources Defense Council.  EPA will take steps to limit pesticides in food which might affect children (but Bush cut EPA's budget.)  Again, Bush takes credit for not doing something.

Lead Poisoning  Bush gained a lot of positive media coverage for not rescinding Clinton's lead rule, but all this rule does is require lead polluters to disclose the amount of lead they release to the environment.  The rule does NOT stop the pollution.  At the same time, Bush suspended Clinton's new standards for lead in paint, soil and dust. 

Ozone Depletion  Due to the war in Afghanistan, Bush's EPA dropped plans to object to gas venting by U.S. military jets, using gases known to deplete the ozone layer.   The agency had tried to persuade the Pentagon to eliminate the gas by changing the fire suppressant to one equally effective in fighter jets' fuel tanks.  The military continues to use Halon 1301 despite the international Montreal Treaty in 1994 banning its production.  The F-16 fighter jet is currently the single largest emitter worldwide of Halon 1301.

Whales and Cruise Ships  Congress and Bush circumvented a federal court ruling limiting the number of cruise ships allowed to visit Alaska's whale-friendly Glacier Bay, by including provisions in the Interior Department appropriations bill for fiscal 2002.

Dioxin Report Stifled   Bush has continued the years of delay in releasing important health information about dioxin.  The assessment was started at the request of industry and a first draft was released in 1985. But they were unhappy with the results and called for a reassessment in 1994, which provided even more proof of harm, so they called for another reassessment which they've successfully blocked for several years. Due to widespread dioxin contamination in meats, the report was expected to advise reduced meat and dairy consumption. The chemical, livestock and meatpacking industries gave $1,171,000 to Bush's campaign.

Overflights of Parks  Bush suspended new Clinton FAA rules that restricted nuiscance flights of helicopters and airplanes providing sightseeing tours over national parks. 

Meat Safety  Bush suspended meat safety rules created by Clinton.  The rule required plants producing hot dogs and other ready-to-eat meats to conduct periodic testing for listeria bacteria. 

Mississippi River  Bush suspended a rule to cut back on pollution in the Mississippi River

Pollution from Animal Feedlots  Bush suspended a rule to restrict manure runoff from animal feeding operations. 

National Missle Defense System  Bush's initiative will have severe environmental consequences, including increased production of uranium, plutonium and other hazardous materials. The U.S. already faces a backlog of billions of dollars for the environmental devastation caused by nuclear weapons construction during the Cold War.  While Bush claims there will be cuts in the number of nuclear weapons the U.S. produces, he proposed a 4.5 percent increase in fiscal year 2002 for the design, development and production of nuclear weapons.  At the same time, Bush cut funds for nuclear waste cleanup.  About 150 military sites around the U.S. are contaminated.  The National Research Council says the majority will never be cleaned up.  The DOE says the remaining nuclear cleanup in the U.S. could take up to 70 years at a cost of at least $300 billion.

Nuclear Treaty Violations  Bush has pushed for development of "mini-nukes," designed to attack deeply buried targets, a clear violation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.   The U.S. is being heavily criticized by leaders worldwide.

Germ Warfare  Bush rejected an international accord to enforce the 1972 treaty banning germ warfare.

Permit Process   Bush proposes to ease the permit process for constructing refineries and nuclear and hydroelectric dams, including lowering environmental standards.

Family Planning Cuts    As soon as he took office, Bush reinstated the Reagan/Bush gag rule,  preventing any agency (in other countries) from even mentioning abortions or they would lose their supplemental U.S. family planning funds.  Even though Americans can freely discuss abortions and even GET abortions, Bush dictates that people in other countries can't even discuss it.  So much for the "Defender of  Freedom."  Bush caused enormous hardships at clinics around the world, when he froze funds designated by Congress for contraceptive care in other countries.  He prevented any  U.S. aid from going to international family planning organizations which provide abortion counselling, referrals, or services with their own funds.  Millions of women lack even basic contraceptive control over their lives, leading to extreme suffering.   And continued population growth in several parts of the world cannot be sustained without severe environmental degradation.  U.S. contraceptive aid is needed.

Insurance Coverage for Federal Employees   Bush eliminated coverage for prescription contraceptives for federal employees.  (Though coverage was still available for Viagra.) 

Eliminating the Public's Right to Know   Terrorism is being used as an excuse to prevent the public from knowing about dangerous situations in their own communities.  This is censorship of critical information and leaves advocacy groups like ours with no data to use when arguing for better safety precautions, processes and rules.  It only protects the chemical users and polluters, not the public. Determined terrorists have multiple ways of learning locations of dangerous chemicals and explosives, whether this data is divulged to the public in an organized way or not. 

Some issues raised by the watchdog group, OMB Watch:

EPA has removed from its web site Risk Management Plans (RMP) collected under Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act. These plans provide three elements about dangerous chemicals being used in plants: a hazard assessment, a prevention program, and an emergency response plan. RMPs created an enormous controversy two years ago when the first round of data was to be posted to the Internet. One section of the RMP provided an Offsite Consequence Analysis (OCA) requiring companies to describe what could happen under worst case scenarios. Needless to say, chemical companies did not want to disclose that nearby families were living or working by a place that could seriously injure or kill them. 

With encouragement from chemical manufacturers, the FBI noted that posting OCA data on the Internet would increase chances of a terrorist attack. Congress followed suit with a law  prohibiting government posting of OCA data unless Bush decided otherwise. Accordingly, EPA posted the RMP, minus the OCA, to its web site. With extremely narrow permissions, the law and proposed subsequent regulations allowed the public to go to designated reading rooms where they could review, but not copy, a select number of the OCAs. 

Both the FBI and Congress have acknowledged that disclosure through the Internet of the remainder of the RMP information presented no unique increased threats of terrorism. This is why EPA's decision to remove the entire RMP is quite startling. 

Greenpeace collected OCA data from 50 Louisiana plants, producing a report on dangers. They noted "[the idea that] greater restriction of this information will somehow prevent terrorist attacks is hopelessly naive. Cursory reading of chemical engineering text books shows facilities making and using large amounts of chemicals such as chlorine have the potential for a catastrophic leak of poison gas.  Ultra hazardous chemicals with  safer substitutes should be phased out as recommended by the International Joint Commission in 1992." 

Corporations are lobbying to stop access to OCA data even through reading rooms, and criticizing citizen groups for posting RMP executive summaries online making them publicly accessible through such sites as www. RTK.net. (Right to Know Net)
 They fail to mention that these facilities are also listed in the telephone book, on Internet search engines, in trade journals, and through many more sources. 

One critic notes: "At one facility, for example, the listed worst-case scenarios are: 1) an acrylonitrile spill exposing all within five miles to exposure levels above those deemed safe by EPA; and 2) a butadiene explosion in a rail car affecting 0.43 miles. Another RMP notes nearby schools and churches are within the radius of a worst-case chemical release." 
 This is where good people can view things very differently: he sees this as evidence of helping terrorists; we view it as helping communities better understand potential dangers near them, and to allow residents to argue for improved security and safety at  plants. 

Pipeline companies have lobbied to remove legislative proposals encouraging community right-to-know, using the argument that such information would help terrorists. However, as anyone who has driven by pipelines knows, they are publicly marked with big signs. One environmentalist asked: "of what possible value to terrorists is public information about a company's pipeline integrity plans, past performance, spill data, testing results, etc.?"     Referring to where he lives, he noted that "We... found that terror does not only come from abroad, and one way of reducing this type of terror [accidents] is by making company pipeline safety plans and performance more transparent to the public." 

The Office of Pipeline Safety within the Dept. of Transportation posted a note to its web site saying they "have discontinued providing open access to the National Pipeline Mapping System." They will only provide pipeline data to pipeline operators, and federal, state and local officials. 

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry removed its web site report that notes "security at chemical plants ranged from fair to very poor" and "security around chemical transportation assets ranged from poor to non-existent." The report, Industrial Chemicals and Terrorism: Human Health Threat Analysis, Mitigation and Prevention, does not provide information about individual facilities.  Local citizens have a right to know, but the government is using terrorism as an excuse to cover up it's failures and corporate irresponsibility.

Corporate Appointments 

The Bush Administration is dominated by former corporate CEOs and lobbyists, particularly from the oil and gas industry.  The list could go on for many pages.  Key appointments:

Gale Norton  Secretary of the Dept. of Interior.  Manages a quarter of the country's land. Protege of James Watt, of Reagan Administration fame.  Formerly with the Mountain States Legal Foundation, an anti-environmental group funded by oil companies.  Prominent member of "property rights" groups funded by Boise Cascade, Dupont and Louisiana Pacific Corporations; national chairwoman of the Coalition for Republican Environmental Advocates, funded by the American Forest Paper Association (paper industry's lobbying group), BP Amoco, ARCO, Chemical Manufacturer's Association and Ford Motor Company. Working closely with this group, Norten helped Alaska challenge an Interior Dept. fisheries law, declared the Endangered Species Act unconstitutional, and wrote legal opinions against the National Environmental Policy Act.  As a lawyer, she represented Delta Petroleum and lobbied for NL Industries (formerly National Lead) while it defended itself in lawsuits over children's exposure to lead paint.   Claims that "communication, consultation and cooperation" are cornerstones of "new environmentalism."   However, this "cooperative approach" has been the industry mantra for 10 years, and has been proven to fail many times.   It is usually a delay tactic, leading to years of committee meetings, studies, studies and more studies, while the public suffers serious environmental damage.   Often it leads to inadequate settlements which permanently shortchange the public and relieve the perpetrators of all future liabilities.  This "cooperation" is a waste of taxdollars and NOT in the public's interest.   Consistent law enforcement is more effective, efficient, and timely.
 Norton claims she's better with state agencies who say "federal agencies seldom listen."  But she's not listening to the general public. Two examples of her style:

  • Shuffling DOI Money, Cutting Core Budgets   Norton siphoned $100 million from other core DOI programs to fund her "Citizen Conservation Initiative" which pays for "new ideas" for landowners to protect the environment and endangered species habitat on private land.  (This obviously weakens the DOI programs which lost the $100 million.)   Cooperative projects with private landowners are nothing new for DOI, but the program cuts are new and deserve more attention.   The citizen conservation initiative is self-promotion for Norton in the media.
  • Internet Fiasco   Norton ignored a judge's warning to improve security on the Dept. of Interior's websites.  As a result, the entire Department's internet use was cut off for several months, crippling communication. (deliberately?)

John Ashcroft  Attorney General, in charge of environmental enforcement.  Got $1.7 million from oil, chemical and paper companies for his Senate campaign, because they were grateful for Ashcroft's opposition to funding environmental enforcement, voting to rollback clean water protections and letting mining companies dump cyanide and other wastes on public land.  One of his major donors was Monsanto (the maker of PCBs.)  His recent policies violate American principles of privacy, free speech, civil liberties, etc.

Paul O'Neill  Secretary of Treasury. Formerly President and CEO of Alcoa, the world's largest aluminum manufacturer and one of the biggest polluters in Texas.  Alcoa's law firm was the third largest contributor to Bush's campaign, as was able to work a loophole into Texan environmental regulations allowing Alcoa to emit 60,000 tons of sulfur dioxide each year.  O'Neill dragged his feet before selling millions of dollars of Alcoa stock after becoming Secretary, waiting until share values rose 30%.  Prior to Alcoa, O'Neill was CEO of International Paper Company, which owns Thilmany Paper and former Nicolet Paper plants in the Fox River Valley

Ann Veneman  Secretary of Agriculture.  Formerly a lawyer with a firm specializing in representing agribusiness giants and biotech corporations.  In California, she encouraged policies helping giant corporate farms squeeze out family-owned farms --- so that now, for example, only four companies process 80% of American produced beef.  Served on Calgene Inc. Board of Directors, a subsidiary of Monsanto (which gave us PCBs, bovine growth hormone, Terminator seeds, genetic manipulation of our food, etc.)  Participated in International Policy Council of Agriculture, Food and Trade, funded by Monsanto, Cargill, Archer-Daniels Midland, Kraft, and Nestle (Perrier).

Don Evans  Secretary of Commerce.  Formerly chairman and CEO of Tom Brown, Inc., a $1.2 billion oil and gas company.  Also sat of the board of TMBR/Sharp Drilling.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which controls the country's coastlines, falls within this oil man's domain.  NOAA is one of the key government agencies involved in the Fox River PCB Natural Resource Damage Assessment and recent bad settlement with G-P.  Most of NOAA's damage assessments and compensation efforts involve oil spills. 

Tommy Thompson  Secretary of Health, was a supporter of Monsanto in Wisconsin.  He received $50,000 from biotech firms in his election run, and used state funds to set up a $317 million dollar biotech zone in Wisconsin.  He was one of 13 state governors who launched a campaign, funded by Monsanto, to persuade Americans that genetically modified crops were safe.  As Governor of Wisconsin,  Thompson was always a friend of the paper industry and obstructed Fox River cleanup and compensation for many years. Between 1990 and 1997, Thompson received $155,553 from the paper industry for his re-election campaigns, and much more from the insurance industry and lawfirms representing the paper industry. (see Thompson Defends Fox River Polluters

Donald Rumsfeld  Secretary of Defense.  Former CEO of G.D. Searle pharmeceutical company (now owned by Pharmacia) &    General Instruments (now owned by Motorola).  Also served on numerous corporate boards.   Has consistently opposed any military arms controls.

Spencer Abraham  Secretary of Energy.  As a senator from Michigan, the League of Conservation Voters gave him a zero rating due to his anti-environmental votes.  Opposed research into renewable energy, wanted to repeal the federal gas tax, voted against increasing fuel-efficiency requirements for SUVs, and supported oil drilling in Alaska.   In 2000, he voted to abolish the department he now leads.  Abraham received more from the automotive industry ($700,000) than any other candidate. 

Elaine Chao  Secretary of Labor.  Served on the Boards of Dole Foods, Clorox (a leading manufacturer of toxic chlorine), and health care companies.

Colin Powell  Secretary of State.  Served on Boards of Gulfsteam Aerospace and AOL.  When AOL merged with Time Warner, Powell's stock rose $4 million. At the time, Powell's son Michael was the only Federal Communications Commission (FCC) member who supported the merger without question.  Michael has since been named chair of the FCC by Bush, and will oversee the activities of AOL/Time Warner.  He will also oversee any regulation of AOL's monopolistic "instant messaging" technology.

Norman Mineta  Secretary of Transportation.  When congressman, he received major campaign contributions from Northwest Airlines, United Airlines, Greyhound, Boeing and Union Pacific. After retiring from the House, he went to work at Lockheed Martin (an airplane manufacturer).

Larry Thompson --- Appointed as Deputy Attorney General, under Ashcroft.  Had served as Monsanto's in-house counsel. 

Condoleeza Rice  National Security Advisor.  For her service on Chevron's Board, a 130,000 ton oil tanker was named after her.  Also a director at Charles Schwab and Transamerica, and served as advisor for J.P. Morgan.

Lynn Scarlett  Undersecretary of Interior despite prior actions as a global warming skeptic and opponent of stricter standards on air pollution.

J. Steven Giles   Deputy Secretary of Interior despite prior history as an oil and coal lobbyist.

Dan Lauriski  Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health despite former role as a mining company executive.

Linda Fisher  Deputy Admin. of EPA despite prior position as a Monsanto Corporation executive.  Fisher was one of Monsanto's top Washington D.C. lobbyists between 1995 and 2000. As Monsanto's Vice President for Government and Public Affairs, she represented Monsanto's interest in agriculture, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, environment, finance and trade issues, and managed the company's political action committee and political contribution funds.  Monsanto spent $4 million on Washington DC lobbying in 1998, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 

Bennett Raley  Assistant Secretary of Interior for Water and Science, though he has called for repeal of the Endangered Species Act.  (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which implements the Act, is under  Interior.)

John Bolton   Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, though he opposes nuclear nonproliferation treaties and the United Nations.

Mitch Daniels  Director of the Office of Management and Budget.  Daniels was the vice-president of corporate strategy at Eli Lilly Pharmeceutical company.  Eli Lilly and Monsanto developed the genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (BGH), which now contaminates our nation's milk supply. 

James Connaughton  Chair of the President's Council on Environmental Quality.  Was General Electric's chief lobbyist arguing against a Hudson River PCB cleanup in New York state. 

Friends in High Places

Clarence Thomas   Supreme Court Justice.  Was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President George Bush, Senior. Not surprisingly, the deciding swing vote giving the Presidential Election to George, Jr. was made by this former lawyer for Monsanto Corporation. 

Congressman Mark Green    Represents Northeast Wisconsin, as our 8th Congressional District Representative.  Received $6,500 in contributions from Georgia-Pacific Corporation (formerly Fort James Corp.).  Has consistently defended the Fox River paper industry against enforcement of Superfund and Natural Resources Damage Assessment laws. 

Former Congressman Toby Roth   Represented our 8th Congressional District for 18 years.  Now works as a Washington Lobbyist and was recently paid $110,000 to lobby for Appleton Papers Inc. and NCR Corporation on Superfund and Fox River issues.   He "lobbied and sensitized Members of Congress on the impact of federal and state plans to clean PCBs" from the Fox River

Lee M. Thomas --- Appointed as EPA Administrator from February 1985 through January 1989, under the Reagan and Bush (Senior) Administrations.  He had previously served as EPA Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response, from 1983-85, a position which included management of the Superfund Program.  Currently, Thomas is the President of Georgia-Pacific Corporation’s Division of Building Products and Distribution.  It’s obvious that Thomas would still have strong connections within the current Bush Administration, and he would know exactly how to use his influence within the Superfund and related NRDA programs. 

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People get the government that they deserve. Politicans such as Bush are elected because if the common person was in office, he would become another venal politican