Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bush Makes America Filthy On Your Dime

So today we learn that under Shrub, the EPA is pursuing fewer criminal prosecutions against polluters. Surprised?

"The slower pace of enforcement mirrors a decline in resources for pursuing environmental wrongdoing. The EPA now employs 172 investigators in its Criminal Investigation Division, below the minimum of 200 agents required by the 1990 Pollution Prosecution Act, signed by President George H.W. Bush.

The actual number of investigators available at any time is even smaller, agents said, because they sometimes are diverted to other duties, such as service on EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson's eight-person security detail.

Johnson, President Bush's chief environmental regulator, foreshadowed a less confrontational approach toward enforcement when he served as the EPA's top deputy in late 2004. "The days of the guns and badges are over," Johnson told a group of farm producers in Georgia the day before Bush won reelection, according to a news account of the speech.

Prosecutors and agency employees blame the diversion of funds to the war on terror, but 9-11 or not, the funding was promised to banish before that Tuesday. And the result of not being convicted guilty of poisoning Americans?

The Justice Department in August also touted a plea bargain with IMC Shipping Co. that required the Singapore ship operator to pay $10 million in connection with a massive oil spill in 2004 that killed thousands of birds in Alaska's Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

Prosecutors told the court they had enough evidence to indict the company for criminal negligence under the Clean Water Act and for making false statements early in the investigation. But the deal they reached called for guilty pleas to two counts of violating the Refuse Act and one violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Prosecutors cited the company's cooperation for the leniency.

The decision to drop the negligence charges could be valuable to the company, which as a result remains eligible to seek reimbursement from a special government fund for $77 million of the more than $100 million it has spent cleaning up the spill.

The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund -- administered by the U.S. Coast Guard and funded by a special oil tax -- can reimburse shippers for all cleanup costs not covered by insurance, but only if the incident does not involve gross negligence or willful misconduct.

Let's see what it costs to spill oil if you cut a plea bargin under Bush. Instead of paying the $100 million in clean up fees and the $10 million in fines, you pay $23 million in clean up costs and $10 million in fines. Which means that Bush just used your tax money to say a loyal oil company $77 million dollars. How sweet, he bought you an oil spill!!. Just another example of Republicans being responsible with money? As Barbie says, "math is hard!"

My wallet just said ouch!!

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