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What did he know, and when did he know it?

We need to be able to trust the EPA. This is the national agency that makes sure that we breathe clean air and avoid toxins. The EPA needs to be trustworthy. If the EPA lies to us, how can we feel secure at home and at work?

So it is particularly troublesome to learn that the EPA was apparently dishonest about lower Manhattan air quality after 9/11. And, the big W, or someone in his administration, may have had a role in this.

I say "may" have had a role because allegations are surfacing in the media that the White House took measures to tone down EPA communications relating to post 9/11 air quality. Really scary statements may have been deleted from EPA press releases.

According to widely published reports, the White House persuaded EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones in the press releases issued by the agency. Apparently, this was accomplished by having the National Security Council control EPA communications.

On September 18, EPA issued an announcement that the air was safe to breathe. Apparently, it did not have enough information to backup the claim. And, now the EPA admits that certain persons may have been exposed to harmful materials that may make them ill.

Which means two things: the EPA was not honest. And, the White House appears to have some responsibility.

We have a presidential election coming up. I hope we find out well in advance of the election who in the White House made this bad decision. It was bad because people who were exposed perhaps could have helped themselves, if the EPA told the truth. By making believe everything was fine, people may not have protected themselves, and some may now become ill.

We need an investigation to find out who betrayed our national trust. If it turns out it was a higher up official, I will not be surprised. This administration seems to care very little about our rights to a clean environment. So this would be just another in a list of "we don't care about anyone other than oil and big business" examples.

Did you hear about what the President's EPA just did? It changed EPA rules so that power plants can expand without adding some necessary pollution control equipment .

Most electricity in this country comes from coal, and many older plants lack the modern air pollution equipment. This is important because power plants have been blamed for much of the pollution in this country.

Now the President is allowing these electric producers to expand without upgrading their pollution equipment. That may very well equate to more asthmas, respiratory problems, and perhaps worse.

You must think I am a liberal environmentalist. I am a registered republican and I voted for "W." But I think we all need to be concerned about this administration's environmental record. We just live here, you know.

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