"EPA decisions now have a consistent pattern: disregard for inconvenient facts, a tilt toward industry, and a penchant for secrecy," said longtime Environmental Protection Agency official Eric Schaeffer, who quit the agency in protest in 2002. He was responding to a new decision to exempt wood products plants from controls on emissions of formaldehyde, a chemical linked to cancer and leukemia.
The Department of Agriculture ruled that the U.S. Forest Service did not violate federal law when it paid $90,000 to PR firm OneWorld Communications to promote increased logging in California's Sierra Nevada forests.
In a rare "directed verdict" issued less than three days into the trial, the environmental group Greenpeace was found not guilty of the 19th century crime of "sailor mongering." A Miami federal judge found that activists who boarded a ship six miles from the Port of Miami-Dade did not break the 1872 law, which requires the ship be "about to arrive." The ship was carrying some 70 tons of mahogany from the Brazilian rain forest.
Next month, the U.S. will host the thirtieth G8 Summit, a meeting of the "leaders of the world's major industrial democracies," in Sea Island, Georgia. The setting is "in keeping with President Bush's emphasis on environmental quality" and "will showcase the complementary benefits of environmental stewardship and a strong economy," according to the Summit website.
"Despite budget crunches, poor air quality, maintenance backlogs and other problems, the public is not likely to hear any bad news from staff of the National Park Service (NPS)," BushGreenwatch.org writes.
As area residents and activists prepared to participate in a public hearing on DuPont Titanium Technologies' request to increase polluting activities at its plant outside Pass Christian, Mississippi, they had no idea they'd have a long wait before getting a turn to speak. "When they realized a handful of prominent supporters - including economic development directors, chamber boosters, bankers and several plant employees - had reserved the first hour and a half of floor time, the hundreds of concerned residents grew livid," reports Greg Harman.
A grand jury report on groundwater contamination in Escambia County, Florida, has been released charging that local, state and federal agencies responsible for protecting the environment and public health all failed to inform the public about industrial contamination of the county's water supply, with the Conoco oil company among the area's leading polluters.
"Flanked by 'Survivor' champions Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca and two Washington Redskins cheerleaders, a leading D.C. environmentalist took time on Earth Day to thank Wichita-based Koch Industries," reports Alan Bjerga. Doug Siglin, head of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Anacostia River Initiative, praised Koch for helping pick trash out of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. But while Koch colleagues heaped praise on the company, critics wondered whether the event wasn't designed to clean up Koch's image as much as the river.
"Through concerted marketing and public relations campaigns... 'greenwashers' attract eco-conscious consumers and push the notion that they don't need environmental regulations because they are already environmentally responsible.