Clean Air, Clear Skies
On September 18, 2001, Christie Whitman's EPA gave us the news:
"We are very encouraged that the results from our monitoring of air quality and drinking water conditions in both New York and near the Pentagon show that the public in these areas is not being exposed to excessive levels of asbestos or other harmful substances," Whitman said. "Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, D.C. that their air is safe to breath and their water is safe to drink," she added."
But today the NYTimes tells us:
"In the cold, clinical language of the autopsy report of a retired New York City detective that was released this week, there were words that thousands of New Yorkers have come to anticipate and to fear.
"It is felt with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the cause of death in this case was directly related to the 9/11 incident," stated the report from the medical examiner's office in Ocean County, N.J.
That "reasonable degree of medical certainty" â€” coroner language for "as sure as I can be" â€” provides the first official link made by a medical expert between the hazardous air at ground zero after the trade center collapse and the death of someone who worked in the rescue effort."
A death that could have likely been prevented had everyone who worked in the area been given accurate information on the dangers. Instead, what they got was the patented Bush science shell game:
"In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, the White House instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to give the public misleading information, telling New Yorkers it was safe to breathe when reliable information on air quality was not available...
A statement about discovery of asbestos at higher than safe levels in dust samples from lower Manhattan was changed to state that "samples confirm previous reports that ambient air quality meets OSHA...standards and consequently is not a cause for public concern."
Language in an EPA draft stating that asbestos levels in some areas were three times higher than national standards was changed to "slightly above the 1 percent trigger for defining asbestos material."
This sentence was added to a Sept. 16 news release: "Our tests show that it is safe for New Yorkers to go back to work in New York's financial district." It replaced a statement that initial monitors failed to turn up dangerous samples.
A warning on the importance of safely handling ground zero cleanup, due to lead and asbestos exposure, was changed to say that some contaminants had been noted downtown but "the general public should be very reassured by initial sampling."
The report also notes examples when EPA officials claimed that conditions were safe when no scientific support was available."
And who was responsible for ordering the changes in the report?
And who is in charge of the National Security Council?
If the deliberate and callous subversion of evidence that could have protected his own people and saved lives doesn't qualify as a high crime, what does? Impeach the bastard.