[Homestead] You really have to admire successful thieves

Tvoivozhd 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 
"regulations".


	

*washingtonpost.com* <http://www.washingtonpost.com/>
*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 
rulemaking process."

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 
identical.

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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