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E-M:/ From American Progress Report



I excerpt today's daily report from the
American Progress Report
http://www.americanprogressaction.org

Note the last paragraph concerning endocrine disruption of
frogs.   This speaks to the proclivities of the 4 republican
Federalist Society judicial activists on the Michigan Supreme
Court who've used "judge made law" to rewrite Michigan's
Environmental Protection Act Provisions.   They want to
be able to say that the act of granting a permit or other
government approval (such as an approval of a pesticide)
is an inherent guarantee of environmental protection and
protection of resources which cannot be collaterally attacked
as being damaging to the environment by citizens under
the Michigan environmental protection act.   This sweeps
away a lot of the effectiveness of the act that has been in place
and working since 1970.

Michigan environmentalists need to organize together with the
Trial Lawyers, woman's groups, pro-choice organizations, labor
unions and others to take back Michigan's Supreme Court.   Of
the 4 anti-environmental judges, I think Maura Corrigan, the
Chief Justice will be up next for re-election.  

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HEALTH AND SAFETY


Bush's Big Business Agenda

Analysis by The Washington Post and The New York Times shows the Bush administration is continuing to use regulatory action, exempt from Congressional oversight and often hidden from public scrutiny, to further a big business agenda despite demonstrated risks to public health and safety. An extensive analysis by the WP reveals the administration has employed regulatory action "to implement far-reaching policy changes…Under Bush, these decisions have spanned logging in national forests, patients' rights in government health insurance programs, tests for tainted packaged meats, Indian land transactions and grants to religious charities." The NYT notes the public has been distracted by Iraq and the fight against terrorism. Meanwhile, "Health rules, environmental regulations, energy initiatives, worker-safety standards and product-safety disclosure policies have been modified in ways that often please business and industry leaders." The weakening of regulations has possibly endangered "consumers, workers, drivers, medical patients, the elderly and many others." Check out American Progress' and OMB Watch's report on the Bush administration's dismantling of public safeguards.

THE RECORD: According to the Post's analysis, President Bush's deregulatory record represents a radical departure from previous administrations. "All presidents have written or eliminated regulations to further their agendas," the Post notes. "What is distinctive about Bush is that he quickly imposed a culture intended to put his anti-regulatory stamp on government." In the past 3 1/2 years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the branch of the Labor Department in charge of workers' well-being, "has eliminated nearly five times as many pending standards as it has completed. It has not started any major new health or safety rules, setting Bush apart from the previous three presidents, including Ronald Reagan. Unlike his two predecessors, Bush has canceled more of the unfinished regulatory work he inherited than he has completed."

ADMINISTRATION SAYS SAFETY INFO "NOT OF MUCH INTEREST": One example of the Bush administration's disregard for public safety: On Saturday, the NYT highlighted a controversial regulation published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration forbidding the release of some data relating to unsafe motor vehicles. Following the lead of auto company lobbyists, the administration said "publicizing the information would cause 'substantial competitive harm' to manufacturers," even though it might help consumers choose safer cars. Chief spokesman Ray Tyson said he was sure the now-suppressed information, which includes "warranty-claim information, industry reports on safety issues and consumer complaints," would not be "of much interest to the general public." Last week, the NYT documented how the administration is trying to rewrite coal regulations in favor of owners, rescinding "more than a half-dozen proposals intended to make coal miners' jobs safer, including steps to limit miners' exposure to toxic chemicals."

QUESTIONING THE DATA: Since it would be embarrassing to simply tell consumers and workers it's not willing to make businesses pay to protect them, the Bush administration has developed a different strategy for achieving regulatory roll backs: question the science. In today's WP addresses with the Data Quality Act, a little-known piece of legislation "written by an industry lobbyist and slipped into a giant appropriations bill in 2000 without congressional discussion or debate." The act is supposedly meant to ensure new regulations are based on "sound science," but the WP found it has been used predominantly by industry to challenge scientific data indicating risks to workers or consumers. Included among the petitions so far: sugar interests challenged dietary recommendations to limit sugar intake; logging groups challenged calculations used to justify restrictions on timber harvests; and the American Chemistry Council challenged data meant to justify bans on wood treated with heavy metals and arsenic in playground equipment.

HORMONE DISRUPTION NO REASON FOR ALARM: Hermaphrodite frogs? No cause for alarm, says the Bush administration, and no need to regulate the chemical creating them. Indeed, the WP says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) used language provided by a petition filed under the Data Quality Act to stifle reforms aimed at curbing the use of atrazine, a major weed-killer found by scientists to disrupt hormones in wildlife – "in some cases turning frogs into bizarre creatures bearing both male and female sex organs." A sentence added to the EPA's final scientific assessment last year stated that "Hormone disruption…cannot be considered a 'legitimate regulatory endpoint at this time' -- that is, it is not an acceptable reason to restrict a chemical's use -- because the government had not settled on an officially accepted test for measuring such disruption." The language "rendered moot hundreds of pages of scientific evidence."


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Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
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