Business As Usual in Bush Adminstration: It’s Okay for Industry Lobbyists to Write Hazardous Waste Regulations

A story in today’s Washington Post reveals yet another full-scale assault on the environment from the Bush Administration. This has become so routine that it’s a little surprising the paper even thinks it’s worth the front page. 

Back in 2001, the Bush Administration Environmental Protection Agency (which clearly needs a new title) allowed industry lobbyists from Cintas Corportation, whose chairman raised more than a quarter-million dollars for the Bush-Cheney campaign, to rewrite rules on the washing-out of hazardous waste from industrial towels. This caused some controversy, because environmentalists and landfill operators objected, and the issue landed on the desk of the Inspector-General of the EPA, Nikki Tinsley.

Her response? No problem!

"The bottom line is that’s okay," she said. "If someone gives them words that they think are appropriate, there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s legal — and common, apparently."

Certainly under this administration it’s common. Tinsley is a long-time bureaucrat enthusiastically endorsed for her office by anti-science extremist Senator James Imhofe of Oklahoma (who once famously called global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people"). He expected her to be critical of the agency and its science advisors and evidently she’s filling the bill.

In the past, it was commonly considered shameful to let polluters write regulations. But those days of responsibility to public health and the future are gone.

According to a profile in the newspaper, Tinsley has in her office a pillow on which in needlepoint is emblazoned: If You Obey All the Rules, You Miss All the Fun.

That’s today’s EPA: having fun with hazardous waste.

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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