Tag Archives: Environmental Protection Agency

Cheney Behind Efforts to Kill Washington and California Clean Car Laws

A number of news sources now point to the fact that Dick Cheney was heavily involved in the EPA’s recent decision to try to void California’s, Washington’s and 15 other state’s attempts to enact Clean Car Legislation to restrict car emissions.

Last Thursday from Los Angeles Times 12/20/2007

“Johnson said California’s request was unlike others that had been granted by his agency that covered “pollutants that predominantly impacted local and regional air quality.”
He said the EPA acted after he and his staff reviewed more than 100,000 written comments and “thousands of pages of technical and scientific documentation.”
Asked if there was White House influence, Johnson said, “My decision was an independent decision.”

Last Friday from Los Angeles Times 12/21/2007

“The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ignored his staff’s written findings in denying California’s request for a waiver to implement its landmark law to slash greenhouse gases from vehicles, sources inside and outside the agency told The Times on Thursday.”California met every criteria . . . on the merits. The same criteria we have used for the last 40 years on all the other waivers,” said an EPA staffer. “We told him that. All the briefings we have given him laid out the facts.”” …

…three sources said, Johnson cut off any consultation with his technical staff for the last month and made his decision before having them write the formal, legal justification for it. “It’s very highly unusual,” said one source with close ties to the agency.Normally the technical staff would be part of the final decision-making process, including briefing the administrator and writing the formal legal document before his decision. In this case, the briefings were done, but the formal finding has yet to be drafted. …

Some staff members believe Johnson made his decision after auto executives met with Vice President Dick Cheney and after a Chrysler executive delivered a letter to the White House outlining why neither California nor the EPA should be allowed to regulate greenhouse gases, among other reasons. The Detroit News reported Wednesday that chief executives of Ford and Chrysler met with Cheney last month.”Clearly the White House said, ‘We’re going to get EPA out of the way and get California out of the way. If you give us this energy bill, then we’re done, the deal is done,’ ” said one staffer.”

Detroit News November 2, 2007:

Vice President Dick Cheney met with the CEOs of Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC in recent days in the wake of a push on Capitol Hill for dramatically higher fuel economy requirements.
Cheney met Wednesday with Chrysler Chairman and CEO Robert Nardelli and on Oct. 24 with Ford Motor Co. president and CEO Alan R. Mulally, officials told The Detroit News. … The companies declined to confirm or deny the meetings. Lea Anne McBride, a spokeswoman for Cheney, declined to comment.

Numerous other meetings have taken place between automobile representatives and the Bush Administration. In fact the White House even has a picture posted on its website from last year. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney meet with automotive CEOs Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006, in the Oval Office. The automobile industry has opposed higher fuel efficiency standards for the last 20 years. In the past they also opposed seat belts, higher collision standards and air bags.

Cheney has been Bush’s point person on stopping efforts to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions from cars and trucks. For almost seven years they held off efforts to protect the health of our families, cities and our environment. For those naysayers in the press and other who try to equate the Democratic Congress with the previous Republican run Congress, let me tell you – there is no comparison.

The just passed energy bill which increased fuel efficiency standards and set up efficiency standards for appliances was a step that only a Democratic Congress was going to pass. They did it despite the efforts of Bush and Cheney and the Republicans to stop it.

The Clean Car legislation from California and Washington State and other states goes even further. The refusal by EPA’s Johnson to grant the waiver to move ahead with tougher emissions standards is going to be challenged in Court. The people want action to deal with global warming and climate change, not the obstruction coming from the Republicans and Bush and Cheney.

But being a Democrat I suppose I should not fret too much. Each action by Bush and Cheney to delay action on global warming only makes a stronger case for why people need to vote Democratic in the 2008 elections. Change is needed away from the corporate oligarchy that Bush and the Republicans have tried to impose on America. Its time to take the country back from the corporations.

Gregoire Will Fight Bush on Clear Car Legislation

Governor Gregoire announced today that she will take legal action against the Bush Administration’s rejection of Washington State’s Clean Car Legislation passed earlier this year.

Governor Gregoire said that she has “requested our Attorney General file in support of California’s challenge to this decision as soon as possible.”

As the Washington Post reported earlier, California Governor Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger immediately announced his intention to fight President Bush’s EPA’s decision that was released yesterday.

It is completely absurd to assert that California does not have a compelling need to fight global warming by curbing greenhouse gas emissions from cars,” California Attorney General Jerry Brown said. “There is absolutely no legal justification for the Bush administration to deny this request _ Gov. Schwarzenegger and I are preparing to sue at the earliest possible moment.”

The Associated Press reports that Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski will also join in any legal action.

Today’s decision by the EPA is very disappointing for Oregon and our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming,” Kulongoski said. But he said it “does not diminish my commitment to combat climate change and I will move forward with any legal or administrative means necessary to make sure Oregon can set its own tailpipe emission standards.”

Also according to the Washington Post Maryland will join any legal action initiated. Maryland’s Attorney General Douglas Gansler said

Maryland officials want to join any litigation filed by officials in California, who have said they are preparing a lawsuit.
“We feel like we’re on strong legal ground to bring this suit,” Gansler said in a telephone interview yesterday. “There’s no legal justification for them [the EPA] to deny the request.”

The tailpipe standards California adopted in 2004 would have forced automakers to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in new cars and light trucks by 2016, with the cutbacks beginning in the 2009 model year.

On Wednesday, Bush’s EPA Administrator denied California’s request for a waiver under the US Clean Air Act so they could implement stronger measures to clean up car pollution contributing to global warming and pollution. Washington’ State’s Clean Car Legislation would go into effect when California’s did and would follow California’s standards. Fifteen states in addition to Washington have passed legislation to enact the proposed California standards.

The states that sued the EPA in November to grant a waiver for stricter standards based on California’s proposed standards included, in addition to California, Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Oregon and Washington.

"Burn the Books. Who Needs Science?" says Bush to EPA

In Germany in 1933 they burned the books for having “unGerman ideas”. Here in America today the Bush Environmental Protection Agency is literally doing the same on behalf of its conservative corporate patrons supporting the Republican Party by closing the Environmental Protection Agency’s Libraries and destroying material.

The EPA, under Bush’s directive is quietly and rapidly closing the libraries in their national and regional offices without Congressional oversight or approval. The head of the EPA is appointed by Bush and does his bidding.

As the Kansas City Star reports, regional EPA libraries in Kansas City, Chicago, and Dallas have been closed. The National EPA library has closed along with a specialized library on chemicals. Other libraries like in Seattle are on reduced hours and are in imminent danger of being closed.

It is another action by the Bush Imperial Presidency that believes it can do whatever it wants. It is another example of the Bush Administration’s blatant hostility toward science and environmental concerns. They are carrying out the anti-environmental agenda of their corporate patrons with the fervor of Nazi Stormtroopers.
The American Library Association reports that:

the EPA is closing libraries and dispersing resources in accordance with an Administration budget directive that has neither been approved nor formally enacted by Congress. Implementation of the library reorganization is proceeding at a rapid pace. Reports of the library closures, information destruction, and property auctions continue to surface despite the objections to the plan raised by EPA professional staff, EPA employee union representatives and the American Library Association.

As one after another of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regional libraries close, both public access and access by EPA scientists is lost, further hindering the implementation of public policy based on science rather than politics. As books and scientific studies are being boxed up and sent to storage, material is also being destroyed. It is Bush’s modern day equivalent to Hitler’s “Book Burning.”

Ironically this closing of the libraries of the EPA is not hypocritical on the part of the corporate friendly anti-science Bush/Cheney Administration. Most of their decisions have not been based on science anyway but on politics. Global warming is just one example.
Democrats in Congress have tried to stop the library closings but have been ignored by Bush. They have asked that all closing of libraries be stopped immediately. As noted in a November 30th letter to the EPA :

“Eighteen Senators sent a letter on November 3, 2006, to leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee asking them to direct EPA “to restore and maintain public access and onsite library collections and services at EPA’s headquarters, regional, laboratory and specialized program libraries while the Agency solicits and considers public input on its plan to drastically cut its library budget and services”(attached). Yet, despite the lack of Congressional approval and the concerns expressed over this plan, your Agency continues to move forward with dismantling the EPA libraries.

The National EPA Library closed on Oct 1, 2006. I know there really wasn’t any need for any of the Republican Congress or Bush’s cabinet or Presidential staff to really have an environmental library, particularly in Washington, D.C. They never used it. But the EPA library also had been open to the public and of course the EPA staff. But with things changing in Congress Bush doesn’t want any facts and science to get into the hands of any incoming Congressional Democrats who might read it and use it as they pass laws. So shut the damn thing down quick before anyone has a chance to stop what’s being done. No public input. No budget approval.

Beginning October 1, 2006, the EPA Headquarters Library, located in Room 3340 in the EPA West Building, located at 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC, will become one of three EPA repositories for paper copies of EPA documents, reports and publications. The other two repositories will be located at the EPA-RTP Library, 109 T.W. Alexander Drive, Durham, NC 27711, and at the Andrew W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center, 26 W. Martin Luther King Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45268.”

Rather than the regional offices having access to scientific information in each of their offices the plan is to box it up and send it to a repository. And probably destroy any duplicates. It’s much easier to only have one copy or no copies of a negative pesticide report to hide than multiple reports in offices around the country. And when you close a library you no longer have a need for a librarian to run the library – that’s one less person who knows about the reports.

The Bush EPA PR people are saying that the material will be digitized and put on the computer. But wouldn’t you do that before you shut everything down? Where is the plan. It’s just like Iraq? No plan – shoot first. The Republican scheme of things is box it up, because once it’s boxed up, fewer people will have access to deciding what is to be digitized. Its called controlling and denying access to information. Like you can really expect that the reports critical of Bush’s position of doing nothing on global warming are going to put up on the Internet?

On Dec 13, 2006 ALA President Leslie Burger issued the following:

It is a gross oversimplification to state that everyone benefits when libraries go digital.

This is only true when there is a thoughtful digitization plan that ensures valuable information is not lost and public access is retained. We are still waiting for the EPA to disclose its digitization plan and budget,” Burger said.

All this is just one more reason to support a Democrat for President in 2008. Bush represents the Republican philosophy of supporting corporations over public health and the environment. He supports controlling access to information over open public libraries that foster a free exchange of information. He doesn’t support science or the use of science in making public policy.

Do you hear any Republicans running for President protesting the closing of the EPA libraries? I don’t. Things just get worse and worse under Bush, despite the Nov elections because he is not going to listen or act in the behalf of the public interest. Shutting down the EPA libraries has nothing to do with saving money. It has all to do with the continued assault by corporate America on science and putting economic interests of the corporations above public health and the environment.

I urge you to contact your members of Congress and demand the EPA libraries be kept open. Congress needs to hear from us that this assault on science, libraries and the environment is not acceptable. If we don’t speak up who will?