Government Agency Identity Crisis
This ePluribus Media commentary is a collaboration of minds by XicanoPwr, kfred and avahome.
Honest Government Services? Do they Exist?
Maybe they just need to be renamed:
Department of Inferior and the ever friendly-to-big-business, the EPA - Environmental Prevarication Agency.
Under the loving hand of a GOP controlled Congress, these government agencies have been very careful in their failure to enforce fines, collect fees, and to obscure their bookkeeping, all during the late 90's thru today. It's just taken this long for the people to find out.
Department of Inferior
In a drive to solidify the relationship with the mining companies, the Bush administration has decreased fines for "egregious" safety violations. According to The New York Times, the US Department of Labor has not collected the fines for nearly half the cases. Federal records show that in the last two years the Mine Safety and Health Administration has failed to collect any fines from any delinquent cases nor hand of those cases to the Treasury Department to further their efforts to collect the fines. NYTimes
All I know is the roof collapsed only days after a federal inspector looked right at those pillars and saw that the operator was having us do illegal things," he said. "In these mines, laws don't matter."The Bush administration has also cut back on the auditing of royalties paid by oil companies for oil drilled on federal land.
Currently, oil companies are required to pay a percentage of the sales money they made on oil drilled on federal land to the federal government. Unsurprisingly, the oil companies have yet to pay their portion, moreover, it appears the US Department of the Interior have turned a blind eye. Furthermore, Bush plans to cut back on audits "in favor of a much looser approach known as 'compliance review'" - information on a form. NYTimes
The Bush administration is scaling back on audits of energy companies that pay billions of dollars for leases to produce oil and gas on federal property, state officials said.
The changes have drawn protests from several oil-producing states and American Indian tribes, which receive a share of the royalties energy companies pay the federal government for oil and gas produced on public lands. Those royalties have risen much more slowly than prices for oil and gas, which reached record highs last year and are expected to remain high for several years.
"Under the compliance review system, if you fill out your fraudulent form correctly, you can get away with the fraud," Said Yuseff Robb, a spokesman for the California state controller. "We know we can't trust companies to do what's right without regular auditing."
Environmental Prevarication Agency
With a threat of a global pandemic, just how is federal government getting ready? The governments own website pandemicflu.gov doesn't really give any good answers. In the US, poverty and environmental degradation go hand and hand. The current Bush administration is now allowing thousands of factory-style farms to pollute the air and water with animal excrement. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has signed consent agreements with nearly 2,700 companies in the egg, poultry, dairy, and hog industries, exempting them from paying "potential fines of up to $27,500 a day for violations either in the past or over the next four years." According to Michele Merkel, an attorney with the Environmental Integrity Project, this could can produce serious health consequences "for CAFO employees and nearby residents from toxic emissions such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide released by decomposing feces." And in a 2002 study conducted by Iowa State University and the University of Iowa Study Group found "widespread cases of bronchitis in workers exposed to these pollutants." As bird flu continues to spread in new areas, the Bush Administration is doing everything in its power to make sure the pandemic come to fruition. Des Moines Register
The agreement is an insurance policy of sorts for farmers. They take part in a study of farm emissions and pay from $200 to $100,000, depending on the size of their operations. The deals protect the farms from being sued by the Environmental Protection Agency and fined up to $32,500 per day for violations. They do not prevent private groups from suing farms that foul the air with ammonia, dust and other pollutants.While not fulfilling their obligation to the people of this land, the Department of Inferior and Environmental Prevarication Agency robbed "We the People" and paid "Paul, the Corporation".