e on Environment and Public Works, which is reviewing the governments response to environmental and health issues at ground zero.
The report concluded that the misleading information had left residents with an erroneous impression about risk. As a result, only 295 residents and apartment building owners asked to take part in a new residential cleanup program before enrollment ended in March. That number represented just a small portion of the 20,000 apartments eligible to participate.
Residents are understandably reluctant to participate in what they consider to be a waste of time, said Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who led the subcommittee hearing. Senator Clinton, who has been sharply critical of the federal response to 9/11-related health issues, said the data in the report offered a very different picture from what the White House would like us to believe.
Susan P. Bodine, assistant administrator of the environmental agencys Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, declined to comment on the report. I would have to go back and check the numbers, she said in an interview.
Wednesdays hearing was the first to look into the administrations environmental response to the trade center disaster since Democrats took control of Congress. Christie Whitman, the agencys administrator in 2001, is expected to testify at a committee hearing in the House on Monday about her handling of the disaster and the way she communicated the level of risk to the public.
Also at Wednesdays hearing, Senator Clinton announced that a Senate appropriations subcommittee had included $55 million in the 2008 budget proposal for screening and treatment of people exposed to ground zero dust.
The money would, for the first time, cover residents of Lower Manhattan. The measure would also require the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a long-term screening and treatment plan.
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