FEBRUARY 15, 2006
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is supposed to protect human health and assure that the environment is clean for the American people, yet the government agency is protecting politically connected paint manufacturers with deep pockets by refusing to turn over records detailing the levels of smog-causing compounds in their products.
New York officials have tried to obtain the records, which are annually submitted to the EPA by paint manufacturers, for years under the Freedom of Information Act yet the agency has refused. Now the state is suing the EPA for the information which is necessary to create a plan that complies with strict new rules on smog pollution.
Over the years, influential politicians have appealed to the EPA on behalf of big companies that don’t want their products regulated by the agency. For example, Ohio Senator George Voinovich has personally appealed to the agency on behalf of Cleveland-based Sherwin Williams, a big contributor to Voinovich’s campaign.
Coincidentally, Voinovich was Ohio’s governor when the state began to invest in rare coins through a Republican fundraiser and friend, Tom Noe, who was charged this week with embezzling at least $1 million through the unorthodox program. As governor, Voinovich appointed Noe to both the Bowling Green State University board of trustees and the Ohio Board of Regents.
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