Documents Show Sharp Dispute Took Place Over 9/11 Air Quality Information

Newly released government documents are finally providing Congressional Democrats with what they’ve been looking for: information about who was responsible for censoring data about Manhattan’s air quality following the destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Those documents reveal “screaming telephone calls” between the U.S. EPA and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, as the council advocated for reassuring the public with calming language — and incomplete information. The White House council objected to the posting of raw air-quality data on the Internet and said the EPA should leave it to the city of New York to issue health advisories — an arrangement city health officials say they were unaware of. Tina Kreisher, then associate EPA administrator, said she “felt extreme pressure” from the White House council to understate the severity of the problem. Congressional Dems have held up the appointment of Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt (R) to head the EPA until the Bush administration answers questions about the air-quality cover-up.