Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Bush to Polluters: "Bring It On"

During the first three years of the Bush administration, the number of civil lawsuits that the federal government filed against polluters dropped by 75% compared with the last three years of the Clinton administration, an environmental group reported Tuesday.

Eric Schaeffer, director of the group that compiled the data, said they showed that the administration had been weak on enforcing anti-pollution laws.
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The number of lawsuits filed over alleged pollution-law violations dropped from 152 in the three years ended in January 2001 to 36 in the three years ended in January 2004, according to EPA data analyzed by the Environmental Integrity Project, an environmental watchdog group.

Schaeffer, who left his job as the head of the EPA enforcement office almost three years ago to protest what he considered the Bush administration's lax approach to cracking down on polluters, said the data showed that "my concerns were, unfortunately, justified."
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"If you're a big energy company, you're basically on holiday from enforcement," Schaeffer said.
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