From Inside EPA:
The White House has convened a Cabinet-level task force in the aftermath
of Hurricane Katrina that does not include EPA, prompting a number
government watchdog groups to raise concerns that the exclusion may
reflect an effort to downplay the extent of environmental contamination
in the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast region.
President Bush announced Aug. 31 that the Red Cross and 10 federal
agencies, including the Small Business Administration and the Department
of Labor, but not EPA, are part of the “federal response” to the damage
caused by the hurricane.
One source with the government watchdog group OMB Watch says the
administration was “short sighted by not including [EPA] right away,”
saying it is likely that toxic material, human waste and other
contaminants released as as a result of the hurricane are polluting the
area and threatening public health. The source speculates that the White
House excluded EPA from the task force because of a fear that agency
staff may find politically damaging information, similar to what
happened in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, when EPA was critical of the
administration’s response to the environmental contamination caused by
the terrorist attacks.
Oh yeah, I forgot. This isn’t a time for politics.