[Homestead] You really have to admire successful thieves
tvoivozd at infionline.net
Wed Sep 22 18:00:09 EDT 2004
The Thief in The Oval Office and the Thieves he has appointed to the EPA
and other regulator agencies whose BushTask is to abandon or reverse
all protection for Environment and Public Safety----eat your mercury,
eat your arsenic---they're good for you when polluters write the
*EPA Wording Found to Mirror Industry's*
Influence on Mercury Proposal Probed
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 22, 2004; Page A29
For the third time, environmental advocates have discovered passages in
the Bush administration's proposal for regulating mercury pollution from
power plants that mirror almost word for word portions of memos written
by a law firm representing coal-fired power plants.
The passages state that the Environmental Protection Agency is not
required to regulate other hazardous toxins emitted by power plants,
such as lead and arsenic. Several attorneys general, as well as some
environmental groups, have argued that the Clean Air Act compels the EPA
to regulate these emissions as well as mercury.
The revelations concerning language written by Latham & Watkins could
broaden an ongoing probe by the EPA's inspector general into whether the
industry had an undue influence on the agency's proposed mercury rule,
legislative critics of the proposed rule said.
Sen. James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.), ranking member of the Senate Environment
and Public Works Committee and one of the senators who called for the
probe last spring, said the revelation that the EPA adopted the same
wording as an industry source "no longer comes as much of a surprise."
"The Bush administration continues to let industry write the rules on
pollution, and this is just one more example of how they abuse the
public trust," he said.
EPA spokeswoman Cynthia Bergman would not comment on the connection
between the law firm memo and the agency's proposal beyond saying that
it is "a public document. It was publicly debated as part of the
She added that pollutants such as lead and arsenic are not the central
issue: "EPA continues to be most concerned with mercury. We will be
regulating mercury emissions from power plants for the first time, and
we will concentrate on the need to protect children and pregnant women."
Environmentalists have assailed the EPA for months arguing that the
mercury rule, slated to be finalized next March, would not adequately
curb a toxin that can enter the food chain through fish and cause
developmental damage in infants and young children.
The rule, they said, does nothing to limit chromium, lead and arsenic
pollution from utilities, all of which exceed mercury emissions and
could pose a health threat.
"The big story here is the public health story; things like arsenic,
lead and chromium are being released in very large quantities and pose a
very serious health threat," said John Stanton, a senior lawyer for
Clear the Air, an environmental coalition that spotted the similarities
between the regulation's language and the industry memo.
The proposed regulation concludes that although the EPA determined in
2000 that arsenic, chromium and other metals are potential carcinogens,
there is too much uncertainty to justify regulating them.
That conclusion is backed by two sections of the proposed rule that
address whether the EPA is compelled to regulate non-mercury pollutants,
an issue that first arose in 1990 when Congress rewrote sections of the
Clean Air Act. At the time, Congress made an exemption for the
utilities, saying the EPA should study whether it was both "appropriate
and necessary" to regulate them. In 2000, in the waning months of the
Clinton administration, the EPA concluded that utilities should be
listed as a source of toxic emissions and regulated accordingly.
In light of the 2000 decision and past studies, EPA officials said they
are obligated to regulate only mercury in coal-fired power plants and
nickel in oil-fired plants. The nine attorneys general and two state
environmental secretaries wrote the agency on June 28 saying the EPA is
legally required to address other pollutants as well, citing a 2000
decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
The Aug. 5, 2002, memo from Latham & Watkins, submitted during the
public comment period on the rule, said hazardous air pollutants other
than mercury did not need to be regulated. It made multiple references
to statements by Rep. Michael G. Oxley (R-Ohio) that "Congress provided
a distinct regulatory mandate for utility [hazardous emissions] because
of the logic of basing any decisions to regulate on the results of
scientific study and because of the emission reductions that will be
achieved and the extremely high costs that electric utilities will face
under other provisions of the new Clean Air Act amendments."
The EPA used nearly identical language in its rule, changing just eight
words. In a separate section, the agency used the same italics Latham
lawyers used in their memo, saying the EPA is required to regulate only
the pollutants under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act /"after
considering the results of the study required by this paragraph." / The
memo uses the word "subparagraph" instead of paragraph but is otherwise
Latham lawyer Robert A. Wyman Jr., who authored the memo, declined to
comment last week on grounds that the firm does not discuss client
matters unless directed to do so.
The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this year
on instances in which industry-written language had surfaced in the
mercury proposal. A spokesman for the inspector general's office said
its investigation of the issue should be done by early next year.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
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