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Janet Ritz

Janet Ritz

Posted: June 26, 2008 02:48 AM

EPA Documents Bombshell: EPA Administrator's global warming warning withheld by White House

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The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming successfully subpoenaed documents that reveal EPA Administrator, Stephen Johnson, had sent regulatory recommendations to the White House last year in which he unequivocally stated that global warming was occurring and that vehicle emissions were a danger to public welfare.

WASHINGTON (June 24, 2008) - The Environmental Protection Agency was on its way towards finding global warming emissions to be a danger to public welfare, and that these emissions should be regulated in vehicles and fuels, according to a review of subpoenaed global warming documents by the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. The review of the documents follows a lengthy process of negotiation with the EPA and the White House, which started in January of 2008, and brings into serious question the administration's u-turn on regulating global warming emissions.

The documents are the draft regulatory recommendations from December 5 and December 14 of 2007, and were sent to the White House and to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for approval before reports indicate all work was stopped on the recommendations. The White House is now in the process of completing an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR), which would be a step backwards in what the Select Committee has found to be an already advanced process towards regulating global warming emissions.

What makes this a bombshell: This is the same Stephen Johnson who denied California's request for higher emission standards waiver, stating that the lower Federal standard was enough -- the subject of an ongoing lawsuit between the EPA and at least 18 states plus environmental groups, resulting in a (different) subpoena for documents and eyewitness testimony by Henry Waxman (D-CA) to determine the extent of President Bush's intervention to lower those standards.

President Bush invoked executive privilege last week to avoid answering that subpoena.

"This administration has shown its contempt for Congress, its contempt for the rule of law, and this administration's handling of the Massachusetts v. EPA decision has shown its contempt for science," said [committee] Chairman [Edward] Markey (D-MA). "The president has a short amount of time to alter his legacy as running the most environmentally-unfriendly administration in history, and he can start by listening to his own climate scientists and take action on global warming."

Among the findings in the documents:

  • EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson determined that man-made global warming is unequivocal, the evidence is both compelling and robust, and the administration must act to prevent harm rather than wait for harm to occur before acting.
  • EPA found that global warming risks include severe heat waves, sea level rise, reduced availability of water, increased wildfire and insect outbreaks, an increase in heavy precipitation events, an increase in regional ground-level ozone pollution, and changes in the range of vector-borne diseases.
  • EPA proposed that regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles be implemented in order to achieve the equivalent of a 35 mpg car and light truck fleet average by 2018 (with the car fleet averaging 38.4 mpg by 2018 and the truck fleet averaging 29.5 mpg by 2017).
  • When EPA used the EIA 2007 high gasoline price projections of $2.75 in 2017 to $3.20 in 2030 to calculate standards, it found that the car fleet could achieve a standard of 43.3 mpg by 2018 and light trucks could achieve a standard of 30.6 mpg by 2017.

This revelation comes after President Bush evoked executive privilege to withhold information on his intervention in the lowering of the rural and California smog standards, the documents and witness testimony pertaining to which have been requested by Henry Waxman's Congressional Oversight committee. Representative Waxman's (D-CA) efforts to obtain the White House documents and testimony, hampered by President Bush's assertion of privilege is still ongoing.

For more information:

Bush Claims Executive Privilege in EPA Interference Investigation
Bush Intervenes on Smog Ruling
EPA Sued (again) by 18 States
EPA Scientists Confirm Political Interference
EPA Sued Over Greenhouse Gas Emissions
EPA denies California Emissions Waiver

And a timeline of the negotiations between Chairman Markey and the administration: http://globalwarming.house.gov/tools/2q08materials/files/0047.pdf

More on this topic at THE ENVIRONMENTALIST

 

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