The Space Shuttle Columbia accident report is out, and is quite lengthy. Instapundit points out that buried in Chapter 3 of the report is a reference to the fact that the foam (which apparently struck the shuttle and caused burn through on re-entry) was reformulated for environmental reasons. Brian Carnell’s blog reprinted a NASA press release from 1999 which states that the foam was known to flake off the inter-tank section of the external fuel tank on a previous shuttle mission. It also confirmed that the "new lightweight insulation material was developed to comploy with an EPA mandate to reduce ozone-depleting chemicals released into the atmosphere."
If it is true that NASA used what it knew to be an inferior product in order to comply with EPA regulations, then it is scandalous. I’m no expert in this area, and will leave it to folks like Hayward to fill in the gaps, but I am interested to see if anything comes of this.