It’s no secret that the Bush administration has slashed fines for polluters: The U.S. EPA issued $137.7 million in penalties in 2007, down from $240.6 million in 1998. But even that level of enforcement is overstated, says a new report from the Government Accountability Office. The EPA publicly reports the penalties it slaps on egregious earth-effers, but doesn’t report which fines actually get paid up — which really calls the effectiveness of the whole process into question, says the GAO. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair John Dingell (D-Mich.), who requested the investigation, would like to take a moment to state the obvious: “The bottom line is that environmental enforcement has significantly declined since the Bush administration took office.”