9/11 Panel Back to Check Efforts

With the timing of a summer movie sequel, the Sept. 11 commission is back, prodding the government to move faster to improve intelligence, protect borders, secure loose nuclear materials and spend more wisely on homeland security.

On Monday, the commissioners will begin a series of eight forums highlighting the progress -- or lack thereof -- on many of the 41 recommendations they made last summer on ways to protect the nation from terrorist attacks.

By the end of July, the commission expects to issue a report card on how government agencies and Congress are performing.

Do not expect a lot of "A" grades; Congress may not even pass.

"There is an awful lot of unfinished business, and we're afraid some complacency has set in" because there have been no attacks on U.S. soil since 2001, said Timothy J. Roemer, a commission member and former Democratic congressman from Indiana.

The commission was dissolved last summer, but with seven foundations contributing a total of $1 million, the commissioners and a small staff have continued to play a role on a wide range of issues.

Use of Gas Additives to Continue

The Environmental Protection Agency ordered three populous states -- California, New York and Connecticut -- to continue using air pollution-reducing gasoline additives. The decision yesterday will help the ethanol industry at a cost of up to 8 cents a gallon in pump prices.

The states had asked the EPA to waive a 1990 requirement in the Clean Air Act that gasoline contain an oxygenate to help fight air pollution. They argued that they could meet federal air standards without the oxygen content requirement for reformulated gasoline.

-- From News Services