EPA Releases Report Following Controversy

Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its state-of-the-environment report Monday following a period of controversy last week. Outbound EPA Administrator Christie Whitman commissioned the "Draft Report on the Environment" in November 2001, and several news sources call it the first report of its kind. Using scientific data from more than 30 federal agencies, departments, states, tribes and non-government agencies, the report provides a comprehensive wrap-up of the current state of the environment, as well how certain areas have improved or weakened over the years. Primarily, the report indicates that during the past 10 years, air and water has become cleaner and human health has improved.

Before the report was published, the White House made several changes to the section on climate and the risks associated with rising global temperatures, according to several news sources. The editing included rewrites and omissions regarding the influence of industry on global warming. Environmentalists are criticizing the report, claiming the Bush administration has weakened the Clean Air act, which makes a retrospective look at the environment pointless if the same controls that helped decrease pollution in the past are now less stringent. However, Whitman says the report should be thought of as a "comprehensive roadmap" and way to initiate a "national dialogue."