Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Senator Boxer Presses On For CA Waiver Denial Records

Feb 26: U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), held a press conference to release details of U.S. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson's decision to deny California's request for a waiver to regulate global warming pollution from vehicles. Senator Boxer said, "These documents paint a picture of an Environmental Protection Agency in crisis. They show the dedicated professional staff of the EPA working hard to do what they are paid to do by the American people -- protect our health and our environment. At the same time, we see more and more evidence of Administrator Johnson ignoring the science and the facts, and discarding the advice of his professional staff.

"I believe this decision will be reversed by the next President or by the courts, but the Administrator can save the taxpayers time and money, and can get us started cleaning up our air if he would simply follow the law, the facts, and the advice of his agency professionals."

In a release, Senator Boxer highlighted excerpts from the EPA briefing documents shown to the EPW Committee staff. She said EPA has not released these documents to the committee or to the public, despite ongoing requests. Boxer also issued a statement regarding the role that former U.S. EPA Administrator William Reilly played in urging current EPA Administrator Johnson to grant California's request for a waiver to regulate global warming pollution from vehicles.

She said, "We now know that not only was the professional staff of the EPA advising Administrator Johnson to grant the California waiver, but Bill Reilly, the EPA Administrator under President Bush's father, also contacted the EPA and discussed the serious implications of the decision with senior EPA staff. He then communicated his concern directly to Administrator Johnson. The bipartisan chorus of respected voices urging Mr. Johnson to do the right thing is overwhelming. The impact of the decision to deny the waiver has been devastating on the EPA, and Administrator Johnson must reverse course and grant California's petition now. We are losing precious time in cleaning up our air."

In another letter to Administrator Johnson, dated February 26, Senator Boxer continues to press for the release of all documents related to the EPA denial of the California waiver. She reminds the Administrator that he promised the release of all documents by February 15, when he appeared before the EPW Committee on January 24. She said, "According to EPA staff, these documents are being withheld because they are still being reviewed by other executive agencies as well as by the White House Counsel's office." In addition, she adds, ". . .the continued provision of the heavily redacted documents remains unacceptable. EPA is obligated to produce all of these records -- in complete and un-redacted form, and without restrictions -- so that the EPW Committee can exercise its oversight jurisdiction." She has now requested that all remaining records no later than March 5, 2008.

Access a release with highlights and links to the 27-pages of information received thus far; a waiver chronology; the press conference charts; the letter to Administrator Johnson; and a webcast of the press conference (
click here). Access a release on William Reilly (click here). Access various WIMS eNewsUSA Blog posts on the waiver denial (click here).[*Climate,*Energy,*Air]