Tuesday, September 12, 2006

It's War: Whitman vs. Giuliani Over 9/11 Air

When we last met, former EPA administrator Christie Todd Whitman blamed former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani for spread false information that the air at Ground Zero was safe, and not enforcing the use of respirators.

Well, Rudi ain't buying it, according to New York CBS Channel 2:
It's now war. In an exclusive interview with CBS 2, Giuliani slammed Whitman for making people believe the air at ground zero was safe.

"The reports we had on air quality from the EPA was the air quality was healthy or at least it wasn't dangerous," Giuliani told CBS 2's Dave Carlin.


Giuliani maintained Sunday that he was honest and open about air quality issues.

"I put out all the reports that existed," Giuliani said. "Of course the reports that I put out were the same thing that Christie Whitman was saying publicly."
But Channel 2 says Rudi ain't playing straight:
One report the city apparently didn't put out was an explosive memo from the EPA to the city Health Department dated Oct. 5, 2001. It didn't mince words, stating of ground zero: "this site...poses threats to workers related to potential exposure to hazardous substances." Three weeks after the EPA memo, Giuliani's environmental commissioner, Joel Miele, was still saying the air was safe. "For the residents and people who are working in the open area that has been created downtown there is no realistic danger to the health," Miele said.
Rudi, on the other hand, says:
"We certainly gave people instructions that they should wear masks." "I was here five, six times a day for four months," Giuliani said. "I kind of thought of it as living here. And there were times when I wore a mask when you got near the pile. Times when I didn't. Those were the instructions. I don't remember that from EPA, though. What I remember from Christie Whitman is her saying that the air was fine."
(The instructions were to wear a mask sometimes, and sometimes not?)

Meanwhile, Rudi -- a man of the people -- says "his health and that of his wife and aides could have been affected from exposure to toxic smoke." So there.

And then we have this:

EPA Regional Commissioner Jane Kenny told CBS that her agency had told the Giuliani administration every day at daily briefings that the air at Ground Zero was bad.

"EPA made a distinction between working on the pile, which was toxic soup, and the air in lower Manhattan, where all the readings showed no long-term health issues," Kenny said.

(Yes, there was a magic fence around the site. The air on one side was perfectly safe, but the air just to the other side was "toxic soup." Stupid workers for not figuring that out.)

Anyway, we're all being petty, venal and hurtful:
Kenny also told CBS that she finds the blame game hurtful. "Everyone responded with their hearts and souls," she said, "and we shouldn't be in the position of blaming and second-guessing."
Hearts, souls and lungs.
Finally, in an attempt to broker a peace agreement, Rudi admitted:
"In retrospect, I guess we all should have done it differently: the city, the state and the federal government," Giuliani said on CBS' "The Early Show."

"Everybody bears responsibility for it."
Tune in next week when the winner will duke it out with OSHA.