Monday, November 29, 2010

Rolling Downhill Like a Snowball Headed for Hell

Enacted by Congress in 1970, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to conduct a review of the potential environmental effects of their proposed actions, making it one of the few proactive environmental laws.


As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more commonly known as "the stimulus," officials granted over 179,000 exemptions from NEPA to recipients of federal stimulus funding.


While the stimulus bill was being debated in Congress in 2009, numerous companies lobbied for environmental exemptions, but their efforts were ultimately rebuffed by environmental advocates.

But while companies may have failed to pressure Congress into issuing legislative exemptions from environmental oversight, federal agencies granted exemptions to 96 percent of stimulus projects so far, according to documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.

The energy companies BP, Westar Energy and Duke Energy, chemical manufacturer DuPont, and ethanol maker Didion Milling were among the companies to receive "categorical exclusions" from the National Environmental Policy Act.


The energy company Westar Energy received a $19 million dollar stimulus grant and exemption from NEPA despite the fact that it recently settled a major air pollution case by paying a half billion dollars in penalties.

Likewise, a stimulus project at a BP owned refinery in Texas received an exemption from environmental oversight even though it was the site of a deadly 2005 explosion and later emitted 500,000 pounds of harmful air pollutants over the course of 40 days.

Another energy company, Duke Energy received an exemption for its stimulus project while in the midst of two of the biggest air-pollution cases in the nation's history.

  Raw Story

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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