E.P.A. Is Sued by 12 States Over Reports on Chemicals**************
Twelve states, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, sued the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday for weakening regulations that for two decades have required businesses and industries to report the toxic chemicals they use, store and release.
Their suit takes aim at a change, adopted by the environmental agency last December, that streamlined the T.R.I. process by reducing the amount of information that companies are required to report. The new rules allow them to file shorter, less detailed forms if they store or release less than 5,000 pounds of toxic chemicals. The old rules required a longer, more comprehensive form whenever a company stored or discharged as little as 500 pounds.
Probes Find Interference, Bias by Former Interior official**********
A civil engineer from California's Sacramento Valley, [Julie A. MacDonald] served five tumultuous years as a top Interior Department official handling endangered species issues. She left in May, but her legacy still shades a department that's endured mounting controversy.
The Interior Department's former deputy secretary, one-time coal industry lobbyist Steven Griles, pleaded guilty earlier this year to obstruction of justice charges in connection with the investigation of former GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison.
MacDonald was the subject of two Interior Department Office of Inspector General investigations. The first, completed earlier this year, found that she'd "interfered" with endangered species decision-making despite having "no formal background in natural sciences."
The second investigation, finished this week, concluded that MacDonald had a potential conflict of interest when she oversaw an endangered species decision that could affect her Yolo County property in California.
FDA Science Dearth Puts Public Health at Risk***************
Lives are at risk because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is woefully behind in the latest scientific advances and is under funded, a panel of advisers to the agency said at a public meeting on Monday.
“FDA’s inability to keep up with scientific advances means that American lives are at risk,” the report said.
FCC target of House panel's investigation***************
Two key House lawmakers announced Monday that they were investigating the Federal Communications Commission, accusing its chairman of "possible abuse of power" and a failure to operate fairly and openly in handling proposed cable TV and media ownership regulations.
Martin, a Republican, has faced criticism from lawmakers and fellow commissioners recently for how he has approached the contentious issues of re-regulating the cable TV industry and easing rules on the ownership of newspaper and TV stations in the same city.
Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who heads the Energy and Commerce subcommittee that will conduct the investigation. "It is one thing to be an aggressive leader, but many of the allegations indicate possible abuse of power and an attempt to intentionally keep fellow commissioners in the dark."
Martin had circulated a report that concluded cable TV had passed a key statistical threshold that would allow the FCC to impose new regulations on the industry. But Martin had relied on data from an outside firm that were contradicted by other independent analyses and the agency's own statistics.
"The lack of transparency in FCC matters has left the public with little faith that the agency is acting in their best interest," Scott said.
Bush Proposes Dramatic Cuts In Homeland Security FundingBush's domestic and foreign policies have now killed more Americans than Osama Bin Laden.
The Bush administration intends to slash counter terrorism funding for police, firefighters and rescue departments nation-wide by more than half next year, according to budget documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The plan would eliminate programs for port security, transit security and local emergency management operations in the next budget year.
The move comes a year after New York saw a nearly 40-percent cut in its anti-terrorism funding by the Homeland Security Department.
It should be evident. We need to keep fighting Bush over here so we don't have to fight him ... over here!?
Cross posted at VidiotSpeak