EPA falling short on clean-air protection, GAO says

The Government Accountability Office is on the U.S. EPA’s case again, reporting that the agency has, and we quote, “not reduced human health risks from air toxics to the extent and in the time frames envisioned in the [Clean Air] Act.” The EPA has largely failed to regulate pollution from small sources like dry cleaners and trucks, says the GAO; in fact, the agency has failed to meet 239 of the Clean Air Act’s requirements — a full 30 percent of them — even though they’re, like, the law. “This report confirms that EPA has abdicated its responsibility to protect our citizens from dangerous, cancer-causing pollutants,” said Sen. James Jeffords (I-Vt.), who requested the GAO report along with 14 other congressfolk. An EPA spokesflack responded to the GAO report with a confused analogy: “Environmental progress is similar to a relay race with each administration passing the baton to the next. The Bush administration completed one leg of the race, while accelerating environmental progress for future generations.” Uh.