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News ::
BTL:Bush Administration Launches New Attack on Clean Air Rules... (english)
20 Sep 2003
...Environmental Groups Fight Back. Interview with John Walke, director of clean air programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, conducted by Between the Lines' Melinda Tuhus
Bush Administration Launches New Attack on Clean Air Rules; Environmental Groups Fight Back

Interview with John Walke, director of clean air programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

The preservation of clean air is under attack on many fronts, and now the federal agency responsible for enforcing pollution standards is also under siege.

Around the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, it has come to light that the Environmental Protection Agency's assurance that the air was safe just a week after the buildings collapsed was far from accurate and labeled a cover-up by many critics. Thomas Cahill of the University of California at Davis, leader of a recently released independent study on the issue said, "The debris pile acted like a chemical factory. It cooked together the components of the buildings and their contents, including enormous numbers of computers, and gave off gases of toxic metals, acids, and organics for at least six weeks." Last month, an internal report by Environmental Protection Agency Inspector General Nikki Tinsley said the White House pressured the agency to make premature statements that the air was safe to breathe. New York City leaders including U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.) have called on the Justice Department to investigate.

In another blow to clean air, the Bush administration in late August rolled back the New Source Review rules of the Clean Air Act. Under those rules, utilities were required to install state-of-the-art pollution controls when they upgraded their facilities. Now, those rules will be relaxed for 17,000 of the nation's oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants, oil refineries, and factories. That's good news for utility companies, which stand to save hundreds of millions of dollars from the rule change. Advocates of the rollback say it will improve the affordability, reliability, and safety of the nation's electricity supply, but critics call it an industry giveaway and say it will undermine efforts to crack down on industrial polluters.

Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with John Walke, director of clean air programs with the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C., who discusses the damage these rules changes may inflict on the environment and public health, and how opponents of the Bush policies are fighting back.

Contact the Natural Resources Defense Council, call (202) 289-6868 or visit their website at

Related links

* "The EPA's Pre-Labor Day Sale," by Dan Lashof, science director of National Resources Defense Council's climate center, Sept. 5, 2003

* White House Cover-Up: "What Was Known About Post-9/11 Air," NBC News, Sept. 3, 2003

* "Bush Administration Says It Won't Regulate Carbon Dioxide," National Resources Defense Council, distributed by Knight Ridder Services, Aug. 29, 2003

* "Bush Administration to Gut Clean Air Act: Rule Would Allow More Pollution at 17,000 Facilities," press release, National Resources Defense Council, Aug. 22, 2003

* "The Bush Administration's Air Pollution Plan," Hurts Public Health, Helps Big Polluters, Worsens Global Warming, press release, National Resources Defense Council, Feb. 26, 2003

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions
2003 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
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