TAKING A SMALLER BITE OUT OF GRIME
Polluting industries are getting off easy under the Bush
administration, according to U.S. EPA data released yesterday by Rep.
John Dingell (D-Mich.). In the two years since President Bush took
office, civil penalties for breaking environmental laws dropped by
almost 50 percent, to $55 million, while criminal penalties dropped
by more than one-third, to $62 million. During that same time, the
EPA has also gotten rid of 210 positions, or about 7 percent of the
enforcement staff, and on-site inspections have declined as well.
Dingell said the numbers represented "an extremely disturbing trend
toward weaker enforcement," but the EPA countered that it has forced
companies to spend more on pollution cleanup in the last two years
(roughly $8.4 million) than during the final three of the Clinton
administration (just under $7 million). Meanwhile, the EPA announced
yesterday that it will ask Congress for $503 million to enforce
environmental laws during fiscal year 2004, a $21 million increase
over the request for fiscal year 2003.
straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Elizabeth Shogren, 31 Jan 2003
only in Grist: Read a resignation letter from the U.S. EPA's former
top cop castigating the Bush administration -- in our Muckraker
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