October 2, 2003 CONTACT: David Willett 202-675-6698

New Ad asks Bush to be Honest about 9/11 related Information

Sierra Club to Bush: What We Don't Know CAN Hurt Us

Washington, DC: The Sierra Club today launched efforts to hold the Bush Administration accountable for misleading the public about the safety of lower Manhattan following the attacks of September 11, 2001. With a new print ad, the Sierra Club is calling attention to an EPA Inspector General's report released in August which spelled out how press releases drafted by EPA about the air quality at Ground Zero were edited by the Bush White House's Council on Environmental Quality to downplay the health concerns for workers and residents.

"We're asking President Bush to be honest with every American -- especially those possibly put at greater risk by misleading information," said Carl Pope, Executive Director of Sierra Club.
"Americans need to know that the Bush Administration will tell them the truth and will make their health and safety a priority."

The text of the ad reads:
After September 11th, the Environmental Protection Agency had a Health Warning for New Yorkers:

The concern raised by these samples [of dust containing asbestos] would be for the workers at the cleanup site and for those workers who might be returning to their offices on or near Water Street on Monday, September 17,2001.


But the Bush White House Distorted the Truth:

Our tests show that it is safe for New Yorkers to go back to work in New York’s financial district.


The Bush White House’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) instructed the EPA to give the public misleading information about the air quality in lower Manhattan, according to a report from EPA’s Inspector General. As a result of the White House CEQ’s influence, guidance for cleaning indoor spaces and information about the potential health affects from World Trade Center debris were not included in EPA’s press releases. The White House told September 11th survivors and rescue workers it was safe to go back to work, deliberately misrepresented the truth about environmental threats to New Yorkers’ health and safety and put them in peril. According to Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, 78% of the Ground Zero workers they examined suffered from lung ailments.

There is a better way to protect our families and communities from pollution and contamination, Mr. President. Be honest with us. What we don’t know can hurt us.

As the Senate considers confirming Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt as the new EPA Administrator, the Sierra Club is particularly concerned that the Bush Administration allows the EPA to honestly and adequately monitor environmental problems and enforce environmental protections without political influence from the White House.

The print ad will run this week in Washington, D.C., and New York City newspapers.


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