Air Today . . . Gone Tomorrow Article

Congress members Look Forward to Learning Details of EPA/White House 9/11 Actions
NYCOSH Update on Safety and Health, November 25, 2003

Last month three Democratic members of Congress – Anna Eshoo, Jerrold Nadler and Major Owens – made a formal request to the Environmental Protection Agency for documents and electronic records concerning the EPA's response to the collapse of the World Trade Center and the role of the White House in shaping that response. The initial request, which was submitted on October 14, was seconded a week later by four senior Democratic representatives – John Conyers, John Dingell, George Miller, and Henry Waxman.

EPA officials have, so far, not produced any of the material that was requested, but they have informed the Congresspeople that some documents will be ready for release on December 1.

The materials that were requested include all communications between the EPA and the White concerning the response to 9/11, and copies of interviews with EPA and White House officials conducted by the EPA's Office of Inspector General (OIG), during the OIG's investigation of EPA actions after the September 11 attack.

"These documents can be expected to reveal crucial information affecting the health of many thousands of people who have spent time in Lower Manhattan since 9/11," said NYCOSH Executive Director Joel Shufro. "Because they concern matters of public health, there is an urgent need to make the information public. It would be intolerable if EPA or the White House were to delay the release of the material beyond the time needed to gather it together."

"Also," Shufro continued, "these documents will allow government agencies and the safety and health community to ensure that rescue and recovery workers do not become victims themselves when they are called upon to respond to future catastrophic events."

For the text of the members of Congress' October 14 request for EPA information, visit http://www.nycosh.org/10_14_03_FOIA.pdf

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