Washington, DC, December 7, 2006 – The non-profit Clean Air Watch released the following statement today from its president, Frank O’Donnell, regarding the US EPA’s changes in setting national clean air standards:
“It’s deplorable that Bush administration has caved into the oil industry yet again.
“The Bush administration has taken a page right from the oil industry’s playbook. The industry had urged EPA to downgrade the role of EPA’s career experts and increase the role of politics. And the Bush administration has done exactly that. The industry seeks to cripple clean air standards.
“The official EPA memo can be found at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/memo_process_for_reviewing_naaqs.pdf
“This memo is gobbledygook, which can be translated:
“EPA is downgrading the role of its own career experts and making sure that political appointees are running the show from the beginning. EPA is discarding the important `staff paper’ (which has been written by agency career staffers) and replacing it with the `policy assessment.’ As Bush political appointee William Wehrum said during today’s teleconference, this policy assessment will ‘reflect management’s views.’
“This move will also downgrade the status of EPA’s independent science advisers. Instead of having the unique role of critiquing the `staff paper,’ as they have in the past, the scientists will be allowed to comment on the ‘policy assessment’ on an equal footing with industry lobbies. It is little wonder that the oil industry pushed for exactly this sort of “reform” to the process.
“The whole purpose of this exercise is to make sure that EPA’s career experts don’t embarrass the politically appointed head of EPA again, as they did in the case of the fine-particle soot standards.”