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Ralph Nader letter to Vice President Al Gore
September 11, 2000
Honorable Albert Gore
Dear Vice President Gore:
I am writing on behalf of the people of East Liverpool, Ohio who are confounded by your failure to honor your first environmental commitment after being elected in 1992. I am referring to your December 7, 1992 post-election pledge to deny a permit for the WTI hazardous waste incinerator in East Liverpool located just 1,100 feet from a local elementary school. According to recent press accounts you and your staff have said that the Bush Administration's EPA took away your 'legal ability to stop that permit' before you took office in January of 1993.
However, press accounts at the time say that the Bush EPA never heard from you or your transition team on WTI. They also suggest that the EPA was open to such a request because EPA Administrator William Reilly had pledged a smooth transition. In fact, the Bush EPA accommodated your position on two other issues (Alaska wetlands and a Clean Air rule).
Did you formally or informally request that the Bush EPA postpone the approval to conduct a test burn at WTI until you took office? If so, could you please provide me with copies of all memos, letters and/or meeting notes in which you or your staff requested that the Bush EPA not approve or postpone their decision on WTI until your Administration was sworn in? I will be visiting East Liverpool and am sure local citizens will appreciate copies of these as well.
Although the Bush EPA did approve the trial burn permit for WTI on January 8, 1993, it was your Administration that gave the approval for full commercial operation of WTI months after it failed parts of the test burn.
In the past 7 years you have missed many opportunities to honor your promise to protect the citizens of East Liverpool. On January 31, 2000 your administration committed itself to an independent and expedited investigation of WTI by EPA's Ombudsman. The Ombudsman's recommendations were due out at the end of May.
I look forward to your response to these questions for which Ohioans have been waiting for a long time.
cc: Save Our County, Tri-State Environmental Council