Bush Administration Could Release Disputed Radiological Cleanup Guide

The Bush administration has scheduled this month the release of Environmental Protection Agency draft guidelines that could dramatically loosen requirements for decontaminating sites affected by radiological incidents such as a "dirty bomb" attack, Risk Policy Report reported yesterday (see GSN, April 30, 2008).

The draft EPA Protective Action Guidance for Radiological Incidents could also significantly raise the minimum radiation level at which authorities are advised to offer bottled drinking water or other alternative water sources at sites affected by radioactive material dispersals.

According to one activist, opponents of the guidelines are concerned that the agency could put them into effect without delay through publication in "interim final" form in the Federal Register. The Homeland Security Department used the same strategy last year when it published response guidelines specifically addressing dirty bomb attacks (see GSN, July 29, 2008).

The potential last-minute move by the administration has alarmed environmental groups as well as some EPA and state officials. Critics, though, could press the incoming Obama administration to withdraw the measure if it is released as expected, according to the Report (Risk Policy Report, Jan. 6).

January 7, 2009
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The Bush administration has scheduled this month the release of Environmental Protection Agency draft guidelines that could dramatically loosen requirements for decontaminating sites affected by radiological incidents such as a "dirty bomb" attack, Risk Policy Report reported yesterday (see GSN, April 30, 2008).