Bush administration gamed analysis of competing air-pollution plans

Now, we know you’re going to find this hard to believe, but … it seems the Bush administration has been less than truthful about its industry-friendly air-pollution proposal. In late October, the U.S. EPA released a report purporting to demonstrate that its “Clear Skies” legislation delivered the most bang for the least cost, compared to competing proposals from Sens. Thomas Carper (D-Del.) and James Jeffords (I-Vt.). But the independent, nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has determined that the numbers were massaged in favor of the Bush plan — exaggerating the costs of controlling mercury and underestimating the economic benefits of fewer people getting sick or dying from air pollution. EPA says the CRS report “largely ignores and misinterprets our analysis.” But the two senators feel vindicated. Says a Carper spokesflack, “The report clearly states that there’s no reason to settle for the president’s Clear Skies plan.”