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from Daily Mislead
June 23, 2004

President Bush regularly talks about the need for other countries to display "transparency"[1] and create an open system that allows citizens to see what their government is doing. But, according to a new report, the Bush administration is hiding thousands of previously public documents to "undercut the public's right to know about contamination of the environment, transport of hazardous materials, pipeline routes, and more."

The Working Group on Community Right-to-Know this week reports that, under the guise of "national security," more than "six thousand public documents have been removed from the web sites of over a dozen government agencies."[2] The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for example, has removed from its website parts of once-public Risk Management Plans -- documents that helped communities identify nearby chemical hazards. The Department of Energy has taken down environmental impact statements related to nuclear power plants and hazardous materials transport information. The Department of Transportation removed from its web site much of the national pipeline mapping data that allowed communities to find hazardous pipeline routes.[3]

According to the report, President Bush has also issued executive orders that broaden the authority of agencies to withhold information from the public. May 2002's Executive Order 12958 gave the EPA Administrator authority to designate documents "Secret" or "Confidential," two of the three highest possible security classifications. The White House has even reduced the public's access to unclassified information, passing bills allowing agencies to withhold "sensitive but unclassified" information from the public.

For more, see the report at www.Bushgreenwatch.org.


1. Presidental Remarks , WhiteHouse.gov, 6/22/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=41869.
2. "Bush Administration Secrecy Imperils Environment and Public Health", Bushgreenwatch.org, 6/23/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=41870.
3. "Secrecy in the Bush Administration Obstructs Communities' Right-to-Know", Working Group on Community Right to Know (crtk.org), 6/23/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=41871.

Posted: June 28, 2004


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