By Charles Pugsley Fincher, A Spin-Off of

The Washington Post has been running a series on how the Bush administration is altering environmental regulations insidiously to reshape policy with the beneficiaries, of course, being big business contributors to Republicans. Instead of picking fights by making sweeping changes, a few words in this or that regulation are changed thereby altering the interpretation of it. Two examples from today's Post's series by Joby Warrick follow:

"Sometimes the change hinges on a single critical phrase or definition. For example, when the Environmental Protection Agency announced proposals last year to control mercury emissions, it also moved to downgrade the 'hazardous' classification of mercury pollution from power plants -- a seemingly minor change that effectively gave utilities 15 more years to implement the most costly controls."

"Today, mountaintop removal [to get to coal] is booming again, and the practice of dumping mining debris into streambeds is explicitly protected, thanks to a small wording change to federal environmental regulations. U.S. officials simply reclassified the debris from objectionable "waste" to legally acceptable 'fill.' "

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