IG Report Finds Bias in EPA Mercury Rule

A report by EPA�s Inspector General Nikki Tinsley has confirmed what public interest groups have been saying all along; EPA�s mercury rule is biased towards industry and fails to serve the public interest. From the Washington Post: The Environmental Protection Agency ignored scientific evidence and agency protocols in order to set limits on mercury pollution that would line up with the Bush administration's free-market approaches to power plant pollution, according to a report released yesterday by the agency's inspector general. Staff at the EPA were instructed by administrators to set modest limits on mercury pollution, and then had to work backward from the predetermined goal to justify the proposal, according to a report by Inspector General Nikki Tinsley. Of course officials at EPA have already begun the smear campaign of the IG report, saying Tinsley overstepped her area of expertise and did not fully understand the situation. However, according to the Washington Post, EPA staff who attended meetings on the mercury rule corroborated information in the IG report: "I don't think anyone has ever seen as much political influence in the development of a rule as we saw in this rule," said one EPA staff member, who attended meetings between administrators and staff. "Everything about this rule was decided at a political level. . . . The political level made the decisions, and the staff did what they were told." This staff member and another, both of whom asked for anonymity because they feared the consequences of being identified, said that instead of considering a range of possibilities, staff members were told they had only one. "Maybe we would have come to the same conclusion [anyway], but we didn't necessarily look at the other options," the second staff member said. "We were driven by one option." For more information, read the IG report or OMB Watch analysis of the mercury rule.
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