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GAO Study Contradicts EPA Testimony

A new study by the General Accounting Office contradicts the Bush administration's claims that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule changes would not jeopardize lawsuits filed against electric utilities during the Clinton administration, the Associated Press reported. The study backs up an earlier report by Public Citizen.

The rule changes issued by EPA and the White House could result in reduced fines and pollution controls in some of the Clean Air Act enforcement lawsuits, the GAO said. The revisions to the EPA's "New Source Review" program make it easier for utilities to make improvements to their facilities without having to install additional pollution controls.

Three U.S. senators asked the EPA inspector general to investigate the administration's claims that the changes would not have an impact on the pending lawsuits, which were expected to cut power plant pollution by half. In testimony before Congress about the proposed rule change, a high-ranking EPA official misled lawmakers about its impact on those lawsuits.

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