For the third time, environmental advocates have discovered passages in the Bush administration's proposal for regulating mercury pollution from power plants that mirror almost word for word portions of memos written by a law firm representing coal-fired power plants.The fact that this administration has sold the environment, energy policy, workplace safety and a number of other former government safeguards and functions (like war, for example) to the highest bidder is hardly "news" anymore -- even if you're a U.S. Senator:
The passages state that the Environmental Protection Agency is not required to regulate other hazardous toxins emitted by power plants, such as lead and arsenic. Several attorneys general, as well as some environmental groups, have argued that the Clean Air Act compels the EPA to regulate these emissions as well as mercury.
The revelations concerning language written by Latham & Watkins could broaden an ongoing probe by the EPA's inspector general into whether the industry had an undue influence on the agency's proposed mercury rule, legislative critics of the proposed rule said.
Sen. James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and one of the senators who called for the probe last spring, said the revelation that the EPA adopted the same wording as an industry source "no longer comes as much of a surprise."The Post states that "EPA spokeswoman Cynthia Bergman would not comment on the connection between the law firm memo and the agency's proposal."
"The Bush administration continues to let industry write the rules on pollution, and this is just one more example of how they abuse the public trust," he said.
Hmmm. She probably hadn't gotten her talking points from Latham & Watkins yet.