Friday, June 08, 2007

A Pattern of Corruption

EPA Makes It Harder to Protect Wetlands

The Bush administration made it harder Tuesday for non- permanent streams and nearby wetlands to be protected under the federal Clean Water Act.

The new guidance issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers requires that for such waters to be protected there must be a "significant nexus" shown between the intermittent stream or wetland and a traditional waterway.
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Assistant EPA Administrator Benjamin Grumbles said [...] "maintains ... the Bush administration's strong commitment to wetlands conservation."
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"This policy does nothing to clarify what waters should be protected. It muddies the water," said environmental advocate Christy Leavitt of U.S. PIRG.
US regulator tried to smear scientist in fight for Glaxo drug

The head of the US food and drug administration has admitted his staff attempted to smear a scientist who raised doubts about Avandia - the GlaxoSmithKline diabetes drug that has been linked with a high incidence of heart attacks.
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The FDA's commissioner, Andrew von Eschenbach, came under particular pressure over his organisation's treatment of Steven Nissen - a respected cardiologist who raised the alarm last month about the risks of Avandia.

Under questioning by a Maryland congressman, Elijah Cummings, the FDA boss admitted his staff had attacked Dr Nissen's motives by sending emails to reporters containing links to a website, hot.org, and to a blog containing baseless allegations that the cardiologist was biased against companies that did not fund his clinic.
Bush Administration Ruling Throws Cold Water on Environmental Whistleblowers

The sentence was in a footnote at the end of a ruling against a federal whistleblower. It said the Labor Department recognized only the protections written into the clean air and solid waste-disposal acts, not laws governing clean water, drinking water, toxic substances and hazardous waste.
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The Labor Department has jurisdiction over environmental whistleblower cases. Steven Mandel, an associate solicitor for the agency, said it took those complaints "very seriously."
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In 2005, the Justice Department said the Clean Water Act's whistleblower protections were invalid.

The Environmental Protection Agency has said in court papers involving another case that it doesn't recognize the protections in any of the six major environmental laws.
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The list of environmental concerns that whistleblowers have exposed is long. It includes pesticide testing on infants, leaking underground storage tanks, arsenic in drinking water and the threat of mercury contamination in food.
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"There's no teeth in what's on the books now," said Cohen, a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative research center. "It looks as if whistleblowers are protected. They are not. Again and again they have to go seek legal protection. This problem is not just at EPA, but across the board."


Image from www.adrants.com

(Cross posted at Vidiotspeak)