there's a point where it's just rude.

"Corporate lobbyists are writing the rules for the EPA under the Bush administration." When I've made that statement in the past, I've never meant it literally – I've only meant that the EPA are supporting corporations in a way that makes it look like the corporations are telling them what to do.

Well, it turns out I was wrong there. Lobbyists are actually writing for the EPA. On Wednesday the Washington Post found that EPA's report for Mecury regulation was nearly identical to a lobbyist's proposal, the third such instance they have uncovered:

The Aug. 5, 2002, memo from Latham & Watkins, submitted during the public comment period on the rule, said hazardous air pollutants other than mercury did not need to be regulated.

The EPA used nearly identical language in its rule, changing just eight words. In a separate section, the agency used the same italics Latham lawyers used in their memo, saying the EPA is required to regulate only the pollutants under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act "after considering the results of the study required by this paragraph." The memo uses the word "subparagraph" instead of paragraph but is otherwise identical.

Eight word! They didn't even change the italics! Two of our staff are grad students given to grading undergrad papers, and though I don't do it myself, I could only assume that they are disappointed at the poor levels of plagarism displayed by our appointed officials.

So there you have it. Regulating chromium, lead and arsenic pollution levels in our drinking water is a matter left to the market. Granted it's possible that the lawyers at Latham & Watkins have people's best interests at heart, but just seeing their webpage makes my skin crawl. There's a point where President Bush is just rubbing our face in it. I understand that you've sold out the people's faith in an independently run government agency protecting the environment, but could you not be so, ummm, obvious about it?

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