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Boxer Offers Bill Seeking EPA Standards for Perchlorate by 2004


U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif, introduced legislation Monday that would require the Environmental Protection Agency to develop quickly new public health standards for perchlorate, a toxic rocket-fuel component that has infiltrated water supplies used by about 20 million people in many parts of the United States.

The lower half of the Colorado River, which furnishes drinking water to California, Nevada and Arizona, is tainted with perchlorate from a former Nevada rocket-fuel factory.

Perchlorate can affect the thyroid and has been linked by government scientists to numerous health problems, including cancer.

The EPA is working to develop new health guidelines for perchlorate, but not fast enough, according to some environmental groups and municipal water agencies. Boxer’s bill calls for the EPA to put standards in place by next year -- much sooner than the agency’s current plans.

“Perchlorate is a clear and present danger to California’s public health,” said Boxer who noted that under its current timetable, the earliest the EPA could set new standards is 2006. “We can’t wait to address this threat. EPA needs to get moving and protect our drinking water sooner rather than later.”

Imclone Founder Admits Tax Evasion


ImClone Systems Inc. founder and Martha Stewart pal Sam Waksal pleaded guilty to federal charges Monday, admitting he evaded paying $1.2 million in New York sales tax on nine fine art paintings.

“The information in this case demonstrates this really wasn’t about art, it was about greed,” U.S. Attorney James Comey said, “because Mr. Waksal could well afford to pay the taxes on these paintings.”

Waksal, appearing in federal court in Manhattan, faced a count of conspiracy and wire fraud. He admitted he had the $15 million in paintings from an unnamed gallery shipped to his Manhattan apartment while the bills were sent to a New Jersey ImClone office.

“He’s getting hit in more than the pocket,” Comey said. “You’ll have to come to the sentencing.”

Last year, Waksal, 55, pleaded guilty to six of 13 counts on which he was indicted, admitting he had committed insider trading after a Food and Drug Administration source tipped him that government regulators would not approve of ImClone’s cancer drug, Erbitux.

The former ImClone chief pleaded guilty without a cooperating agreement with the government. Prosecutor Michael Schachter warned Waksal his office was pursuing allegations that he had tipped off others, who then dumped ImClone stock.