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The Final Disgrace of Christine Whitman

by John F. Borowski

Study Proves EPA Toothless Since Bush Takeover
Christine Todd Whitman, ex-chief of the Environmental Protection Agency seemingly cannot escape her destiny as an obsequious lapdog to the worst environmental administration in United State's history. Her shameless and gutless attack on the environmental community is big on rhetoric, full of exaggerations and built on a foundation of bold-faced lies. She is dismayed by the public reaction to the "Draft Report on the Environment." A document, two years in the working, that in her words asks America, "Are America's environmental policies making our air cleaner, its water purer and its land better protected -- or not?' Ms. Whitman has just awakened from an apparent self- imposed coma, as if seemingly blind to President Bush's self declared war on our nation's own environment. The answer to her question is a deafening and definitive no!

One look no further then how this document was doctored. This "draft report" took out global warming language and inserted data from the American Petroleum Institute that debunks and casts doubt on global climate change. Molly Ivins, syndicated columnist sums up the credibility of the API like this: "They (API) have no scruples, no decency, no shame...also, they lie." In 1998, the American Petroleum Institute was found to be developing anti-climate change educational materials to distribute nationwide to teachers. They have lobbied hard against most regulations needed to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. I believe that Molly Ivins is dead on. And somewhere between leaving the Governorship of New Jersey and taking on the EPA job, I believe that Whitman lost her soul.

Just a year ago, Whitman sent a report to the United Nations confirming that "human activity" is a real cause of the greenhouse effect. Her boss publicly spanked her. "I read the report put out by the bureaucracy," stated President Bush who obviously prefers the "Wizard of Oz" approach from his friends at the American Petroleum Institute. Whitman did not dare lift the curtain of these charlatans: and her boss. Instead she complains that "many in the environmental lobby want to hear only the bad news -- they see only evil, hear only evil and speak only evil." These comments all show the classic signs of an individual in an abusive relationship. This is the "classic battered spouse syndrome" where an individual refutes the bad, ignores the beatings and accepts the lies. Ms. Whitman ought to have learned this quickly. President Bush's downright vicious war on nature cannot be justified as acceptable because his administration has put in a few regulations to reduce diesel emissions or some other toothless, token measures. Empty promises like Bush's "Clean Skies Initiative" look good on paper, but deliver nothing.

As the guardian of the Environmental Protection Agency, why has Ms. Whitman refused to rail against and take action against these following tragic events?

  • The White House continues to back the "mountain top removal" of eastern mountains to strip coal and pollute rivers;

  • The Bush team looks to cut healthy forests as part of a scheme to make forests safe from fire? The GAO has reported (little seen document) that most heavy fires have resulted after heavy, clear cut logging;

  • Dick Cheney had special interests help develop the administration's energy strategy, yet the public doesn't even have the right to see the transcripts;

  • Loss of protection may open as many as 20-30 million acres of wetlands to development;

  • Instead of raising mpg standards, subsidizing hybrid and clean energy cars, the Bush team still pushes to open ANWR and the EPA even reports a drop in fuel economy this year;

  • Endangered species listings are grinding to a halt, recovery plans are ignored and manipulation of endangered status could threaten wolves to grizzly bears;

  • The White House forbids Ms. Whitman to discuss perchlorate pollution;

  • Powerful recreational interests look to privatize public assets like national parks and national forests, making our "national jewels" into nothing less than a cheap Disney experience.

This partial list of the untold war against our children's environment is growing exponentially and for Ms. Whitman to go to the papers and present a political litany of drivel and avoidance of hard data is nothing less than a hoodwinking of the public.

Her last sentence of her piece is the coup de grace. "Thoughtful criticism is always welcome and productive. Mindless attacks are not." In all honesty, many of us in the "environmental community", primarily in the grassroots groups, believe that the "beltway environmental groups" need to take the "kid gloves" off. The Bush team plays ruthless, "cut-throat" hardball: the truth and my children's future are damned. What ex-EPA administrator Whitman fails to realize that protection of the environment is not a compromising game, where science is ignored, sustainability is ignored, the health of our children is ignored because the current administration is a whore in the stable of the biggest extractive pimps on earth. Serious problems grow more intractable as they are allowed to fester and worsen.

One wonders, if Ms. Whitman was so proud of this administration, why would she resign. Yes, the citizens of this nation should be proud of the accomplishments of the environmental community: without their prodding and fighting, environmental standards would be even worse. But the clouds on the horizon are foreboding and environmental standards face real decline.

Ms. Whitman, the "Draft Report on the Environment" is ruse, a political fabrication and an obfuscation of the real challenges facing the nation. Any credible science is blurred by the gutting and omitting of scientific data the Bush team finds unpalatable: it renders this document to be impotent and contrived.

A real statesperson would tell the truth. Take off your repressors' collar, Ms. Whitman. Jump down from the lap of your master, who wagged you about as a moderate in the EPA, a powerless symbol. Redemption is found in the truth, exhibiting courage under fire, not worrying about an empty legacy.

And for President Bush and his "brown squad," you can try to buy the truth, hide the truth or invent the truth: your squandering of the natural world is something the children of the nation will not tolerate. And neither will most of their parents.

John F. Borowski is an Environmental and Marine Science Teacher of 24 years in Philomath, Oregon. His last essay in the Monitor was Corporations Blanket Schools With Industry- Friendly Message

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Albion Monitor July 1, 2003 (

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