Saturday, May 19, 2007

Steamrolling whistleblowers

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 05/18/2007 | Ruling throws cold water on environmental whistleblowers: By David Goldstein
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON - The sentence was buried deep within a recent Labor Department ruling, but the message was clear:

Whistleblowers, beware.

More specifically: Whistleblowers relying on the protections against official retaliation contained in several major environmental laws, proceed with caution.

The sentence was in a footnote at the end of a ruling against a federal whistleblower. It said the Labor Department recognized only the protections written into the clean air and solid waste-disposal acts, not laws governing clean water, drinking water, toxic substances and hazardous waste.

'This is the latest attack in a systematic war to gut the environmental whistleblowers' statutes,' charged Tom Devine, the legal director of the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit watchdog group. 'They are a lifeline so government workers can challenge illegality without engaging in professional suicide.'

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