Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today joined her colleagues in calling for a Congressional investigation into the White House's role in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) public statements regarding the health risks present in the aftermath of the World Trade Center collapse.
According to a report released by the Inspector General of the Environmental Protection Agency, despite evidence that deadly contaminants were contained in the WTC debris, including, asbestos, lead, glass fibers and concrete, the EPA did not accurately convey information about the potential health hazards these substances posed.
"While I commend the Inspector General for providing an analysis of the Environmental Protection Agency's response to the World Trade Center disaster, I am deeply concerned with the report findings. At the very least, the report acknowledges major deficiencies in the EPA's dissemination of information as well as the role of the White House in concealing potential air quality hazards. In the days immediately following the terrorist attacks on our nation, the citizens of New York depended on government agencies to provide them with assurances about their safety and security. This included information about the air that their families were breathing."
"As a follow up to the Inspector General's report, I join my colleagues in calling on the Department of Justice to investigate EPA's response, in particular the role of the White House in directing the EPA to downplay the hazards of the World Trade Center contaminants."
"Furthermore, I urge the EPA to provide New Yorkers with as much information as possible and therefore request that public briefings be organized for the community members, residents, first responders, workers, and volunteers exposed to the debris of the World Trade Center."
"The report findings further call for the passage of the Disaster Area Health and Environmental Monitoring Act of 2003, legislation that I cosponsored with Senator George V. Voinovich (R-OH) and that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved in June. This legislation would ensure that the health of first responders, workers, residents, school children, and other community members is adequately protected and monitored when exposed to harmful substances and other health risks in a declared disaster area."