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Profile: EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG)

 
  

Positions that EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) has held:



 

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EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) actively participated in the following events:

 
  

April 12, 2002      Environmental Impact

       US District Judge Richard W. Roberts vacates a temporary restraining order (see January 11, 2002) against the EPA, which had prevented the agency from transferring the function of the EPA's national ombudsman to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) (see Morning November 27, 2001). The case is referred to the United States Office of Special Counsel. Within hours, EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman and the EPA Office of Inspector General move to implement the planned changes (see Morning November 27, 2001) to the EPA National Ombudsman office. [US Senate, 6/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: Christine Todd Whitman, Richard W. Roberts, EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG)
          

(April 19, 2002)      Environmental Impact

       The EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) changes the locks to the office of National Ombudsman Robert Martin while he is away on official travel and sick leave. The contents of the office—computers, phones and the files of pending cases—are removed. [US Senate, 6/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: Robert J. Martin, EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG)
          

January 27, 2003      Environmental Impact

       The EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) completes an interim report on the EPA's response to the environmental disaster ensuing from the collapse and burning of the World Trade Center towers. [BNA Daily Environment Report, 3/20/2003] The EPA OIG's final report will be released in August 2003 (see August 21, 2003).
People and organizations involved: EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG)
          

August 21, 2003      Environmental Impact

       The EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) releases its investigative report on the EPA's response to the environmental consequences resulting from the collapse and burning of the World Trade Center towers. [BNA Daily Environment Report, 3/20/2003 Sources: EPA August 21, 2003] The report, titled, “EPA's Response to the World Trade Center Disaster Collapse: Challenges, Successes, and Areas for Improvement,” concludes:
The agency did not have sufficient data to support its claim that air in Lower Manhattan following September 11 was “safe to breathe” (see September 16, 2001).
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) “heavily influenced” the EPA's press releases, minimizing the risk to public health. Selected emails analyzed by OIG “indicated that CEQ dictated the content of early press releases” (see (September 12, 2001-December 31, 2001)).
The EPA does not have an adequate system for reviewing and approving the content of EPA press releases.
The EPA misled the public by failing to acknowledge that “health standards do not exist” for the cumulative simultaneous impact of exposure to more than one toxin and that the synergistic effects resulting from these combinations are not well-understood.
The EPA Region 2 incorrectly applied AHERA and NESHAP asbestos standards as safety benchmarks when in fact these referred to the detection limits of certain testing methods (see (September 12, 2001)).
The EPA failed to consider the short-term impacts of acute exposure to various toxins.
The EPA lacked sufficient data on 10 of the 14 “pollutants of concern” identified by scientists as possible components of the WTC dust and debris.
The EPA based its assessments on a risk standard of 1-in-10,000 for only some of carcinogenic pollutants thought to be contained in the clouds instead of the 1-in-1,000,000 acceptable-risk standard. It also ignored the agency's traditional reliance on the 1-in-100,000 level, which usually triggers corrective action.
The OIG determined there is “no evidence that EPA attempted to conceal data results from the public.” However, EPA scientist Cate Jenkins provides evidence the EPA and the City of New York DEP did in fact alter and in effect, conceal data results (see July 15, 2004).
The OIG finds that the EPA should have implemented the National Contingency Program (see 1972), which would have given EPA jurisdiction over other government agencies and control over the issue of indoor air contamination. Critics of this report will argue that the EPA had in fact implemented the NCP immediately after the attacks (see After November 1, 2001).
People and organizations involved: EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG), Cate Jenkins, PhD., Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)
          

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