Why Is the EPA Reaching Out?
Interested parties can now let the agency know what they think on EPA’s new interactive Web page (I’d love to a fly on that digital wall). Additionally, agency officials will be made available occasionally online for interactive chat sessions. The first of these was held last Thursday, when EPA’s chief information officer Molly O’Neill was made available for answering questions interactively online.
It is no secret that, under the Bush administration, the EPA has cut back on information available to the public through channels like the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and the EPA libraries. The administration has also been under tremendous scrutiny for interference with EPA science on several separate occasions throughout the last seven years. And in a recent report published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, 900 employees of the EPA feel like their work has been interfered with for political reasons; sixty-percent of those who responded to the Union’s survey encountered some form of executive manipulation.
With new evidence of tampering and data manipulation continuing to mount on what seems like a daily basis, the “national dialogue” could not have come a minute later – that is if the EPA wants to salvage any shred of its rapidly waning legitimacy.
The initiative may indicate a desire on behalf of the EPA to repair the bruised relationships between the agency and the public, and to restore public confidence in the EPA’s ability to perform its duties without political interference from the White House. And while I applaud this effort, perhaps the EPA could adopt their “national dialogue” as a standard practice, as opposed to closing it at the end of June – as if there will be nothing left to say come July.
“Bush Administration Just Says ‘No’ to Science” :: Red, Green, and Blue (4/2008)
“Thank You Bush for Weakening Smog Limits” :: Red, Green, and Blue (3/2008)