Bush appointee misled public on toxic air after 9/11 attack, judge says

Federal judge Deborah Batts said yesterday that former U.S. EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman “increased, and may have in fact created, the danger” to people living and working near the World Trade Center towers in the weeks following the 9/11 attacks — behavior Batts called “conscience-shocking.” Ouch. Most significantly from Whitman’s perspective, aside from the demolition of her reputation, is Batts’ ruling that she can be sued as an individual — along with the EPA — for misleading the public about lower Manhattan’s air quality after the attacks. Despite Whitman’s repeated assurances during that period, the air was in fact chock-full of an estimated one million tons of dust, released when the asbestos- and concrete-laden towers fell. The class action lawsuit on behalf of residents and workers in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn seeks to prove that Whitman and the agency knew they lacked the data to support their cheerful public statements.