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Toxic Deception: Whitman Misleads 'Today' Show Viewers... And The Rollbacks Roll On
Published: Mar 19 2002

From TomPaine.com

On March 7, "Today" show host Katie Couric asked EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman about the Bush administration's latest rollback of environmental protections.

"The EPA has also been criticized for extending the deadline for compliance with the Clean Air Act," Ms. Couric said. "Congressman Henry Waxman says, 'Contrary to the Clean Air Act, the Bush administration has delayed the date by which toxic air pollution will be cleaned up.'"

Whitman responded, "We are continuing to enforce the Clean Air Act, we're continuing to meet deadlines. I'm not sure... to what the Congressman is referring."

It was a toxic deception: Two days earlier, Whitman approved a two-year delay of Clean Air Act rules that would cut toxic emissions from 80,000 industrial sources. The rules -- among scores of Clean Air Act deadlines that the EPA is currently violating -- are already more than a year overdue.

And so President Bush's environmental rollbacks roll on. Public outcry halted his effort to weaken arsenic-in-drinking-water rules. But Bush has retreated from a wetlands protection policy adopted by his father. He's undermined rules that save threatened public lands from ruinous road building. He's sabotaged efforts to hold refinery and power-plant polluters accountable.

There's more to come. The White House is moving to allow coal companies to bury entire valleys under mountains of mining waste; to derail the cleanup of polluted lakes, streams and rivers; and to exempt entire categories of polluters from the Clean Air Act.

As EPA Administrator, Ms. Whitman is supposed to uphold environmental laws. But her boss would rather protect the profits of his political patrons than protect public health or the nation's natural heritage. He's counting on Whitman's help to make sure voters don't catch on.

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