EPA Administrator Christie Whitman released a recap of environmental actions taken in the first 100 days under the Bush administration.
Despite much criticism from environmental advocates over recent environmental policy decisions, Whitman said the Bush administration has "hit the ground running in its effort to preserve and protect America''s environment."
Whitman outlined several late-term rules proposed by the Clinton administration that the agency is currently reviewing. The following is the list of late term rules and where they stand.
- Diesel Rule -- The administrator affirmed a rule to reduce emissions from large trucks and buses and to reduce sulfur levels in diesel fuel.
- Lead Rule -- The administrator affirmed a rule to lower the threshold for reporting of lead used by industry. The new standard will require any company that manufactures, processes or uses 100 pounds of lead or more annually to report such use to EPA as part of the Toxics Release Inventory.
- "Tulloch" Wetlands Rule -- This rule will help prevent loss of wetlands to construction practices that were being conducted under a "loophole" in regulations previously promulgated.
- Arsenic Rule -- Whitman asked the National Academy of Sciences to perform an expedited review of a range of 3 to 20 parts per billion of arsenic for a new drinking water standard to protect public health, in response to "numerous concerns that the level set in the proposed rule was not sufficiently based on sound science and did not address compliance cost issues."
In addition to undertaking a comprehensive review of the rules issued in the final days of the Clinton administration, Whitman noted that EPA has been moving forward on a number of other important policy matters, including:
- Pesticides Legislation -- EPA achieved agreement among a broad group of stakeholders to an amended consent decree in a case concerning the use of pesticides in farming practices.
- Brownfields Legislation and Grants -- Whitman testified before House and Senate subcommittees in support of brownfields legislation introduced in the Senate to give state and local governments greater flexibility and needed resources to turn community environmental eyesores into productive community assets. More than $38 million in grants was awarded by EPA for a total of 36 new brownfield pilot projects.
- Reformulated Gasoline in the Midwest -- To help prevent a repeat of last summer''s high spike in fuel costs in Chicago and Milwaukee, Whitman directed that refiners blending gasoline for sale in those two cities may use increased amounts of ethanol in place of MTBE.
- Starlink Corn -- Whitman announced that EPA will no longer approve a biotech food product for animal consumption unless it can also be safely approved for human consumption.
by Virginia Sutcliffe