- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Political influence at EPA cited
The head of the Environmental Protection Agency initially supported giving California and other states full or partial permission to limit tailpipe emissions — but reversed himself after hearing from the White House, a report said yesterday.
The report by the Democratic staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee cites sworn depositions by high-level EPA officials. It amounts to the first solid evidence of the political interference suspected by Democrats and environmentalists since Administrator Stephen Johnson denied California’s waiver request in December.
Mr. Johnson’s decision also blocked more than a dozen other states that wanted to follow California’s lead and regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. It was applauded by the auto industry and supported by the White House, which has opposed mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr. Johnson, a 27-year career veteran of the EPA, frequently has denied that his decisions are being directed by the White House. “I am the decision maker,” Mr. Johnson said yesterday, meeting with reporters at Platt’s Energy Podium newsmaker session, before the California waiver report surfaced.
A White House spokeswoman denied interference.
“No,” said Kristen Hellmer, spokeswoman for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, when asked whether the White House sought to influence Mr. Johnson on the California waiver. “He made an independent decision.”
But that’s not what staff of the Oversight Committee, chaired by California Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman, concluded after deposing eight EPA officials and reviewing more than27,000 pages of EPA documents, some obtained under subpoena.
Under oath, Mr. Burnett told committee staff that Mr. Johnson “was very interested in a full grant of the waiver” in August and September 2007 and later thought a partial grant — allowing the waiver for two or three years — “was the best course of action.”
Mr. Burnett also said there was White House input into the December letter to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announcing the rationale for denying the waiver, and into the formal decision document released in February.
Also, EPA continues to withhold documentation of telephone calls and meetings in the White House. The committee said that the White House Counsel’s Office has told them EPA has 32 such documents and has described them as “indicative of deliberations at the very highest level of government.”
EPA spokesman Jonathan Shradar dismissed the report as “nothing new.”
“Administrator Johnson was presented with and reviewed a wide range of options and made his decision based on the facts and the law,” Mr. Shradar said. “Distraction-oriented, political tactics of the committee will not keep EPA from moving forward, tackling tough issues and putting into place the most health-protective standards ever.”
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Richard Ivory, editor-in-chief of Hip Hop Republicans and HHR at Communities Digital News, turns his interests, and pen, to the people making news today.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow