The Bush Administration Binds and Gags Environmental Regulators: We Discuss "Operation End Extremism," Rocket Fuel Contaminated Lettuce and Gag-Orders On the EPA

April 29, 2003

"Operation End Extremism" This is the name of the campaign started by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to combat what it sees as a new threat to the US military: environmental regulations.

Last month, the Defense Department asked Congress to "clarify" environmental regulations.

The Pentagon’s basic complaint is that laws governing air pollution, toxic waste dumps, endangered species and even marine mammals interfere with training and readiness exercises necessary for national security.

Employing an unusual tactic for a committee, periodic emails are sent to journalists offering sentence-by-sentence rebuttals of environmental groups’ criticisms of the Pentagon’s request.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration has imposed a gag order on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from publicly discussing perchlorate pollution.

This comes as two new studies reveal high-levels of the rocket-fuel component, which the Pentagon uses, may be contaminating the nation’s lettuce supply.

The studies, commissioned by the Environmental Working Group, found perchlorate in samples of lettuce traced to growers in Southern California and Arizona.

High-level exposure of perchlorate in young children can produce deficits in brain function and motor skills.

  • Bill Walker, Vice President for the West Coast office of the Environmental Working Group.
  • Demetri Sevastopulos, reporter for the Financial Times.

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