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Report: EPA Administrator reversed himself on waiver after talking to White House

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sabra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-19-08 02:41 PM
Original message
Report: EPA Administrator reversed himself on waiver after talking to White House
Source: Detroit News

WASHINGTON -- The head of the Environmental Protection Agency reversed himself on whether to grant California's request to impose a 30-percent reduction in vehicle tailpipe emissions by 2016 after talking to White House officials, a report released Monday said.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight Committee, released a 20-page report Monday detailing the committee's five-month investigation into the Dec. 19 decision of EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to reject California and 13 states' request to impose their own tailpipe emissions under the Clean Air Act.

The report said Johnson reversed himself and had initially planned to grant the waiver. Johnson "was very interested in a full grant of the waiver" in August and September, said Jason Burnett, an associate deputy EPA administrator. Later Johnson shifted to supporting a partial grant of the waiver and then ultimately reversed himself, denying it on Dec. 19, Burnett said.

Burnett declined to tell the committee whether Johnson met with President Bush on the waiver issue or to explain why Johnson changed his mind. But Burnett admitted there was "White House input into the rationale in the December 19th letter."

The EPA and White House withheld 32 documents "that evidence telephone calls or meetings in the White House involving at least one high-ranking EPA official and at least one assistant to the president or the president himself," the report said.


Read more: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080...
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truthisfreedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-19-08 02:57 PM
Response to Original message
1. Withheld documents??? OUR president? I'm shocked I tell you... SHOCKED!
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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-19-08 03:20 PM
Response to Original message
2. He didn't meet with Bush. Cheney is heading up the anti-environmental push
But I guess to the Congresscritters, Cheney IS the White House.
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Supersedeas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-19-08 03:33 PM
Response to Original message
3. is there any enforcement agency that has not become a political wing of the WH
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BrklynLib at work Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-19-08 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
4. As indicated by above posts...Is anyone surprised at this?
Virtually every Federal agency that he could lay his hands on has a BushCo puppet at its head...and the puppet is usually a member of the group that the agency was once supposed to regulate.
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bluesmail Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-19-08 05:07 PM
Response to Original message
5. Flip-Flop
Edited on Mon May-19-08 05:09 PM by bluesmail
Which blackmail worked on him?
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HCE SuiGeneris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-19-08 08:08 PM
Response to Original message
6. And we still are without justice...
Chimp and Sneer must be laughing as they read this.
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MadMaddie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-19-08 08:13 PM
Response to Original message
7. Christine Todd Whitman comes to mind....when I read this
When the American people find out the debauchery of this Administration...
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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 06:58 AM
Response to Original message
8. White House Role Cited in EPA Reversal on Emissions
Source: Washington Post

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 20, 2008; Page A06

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson favored giving California some authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks last year before he consulted with the White House and reversed course, congressional investigators said yesterday. The five-month probe by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee drew upon more than 27,000 pages of internal EPA documents and interviews with eight key agency officials, and it provides the most detailed look yet at the administration's mid-December decision.

California sought permission to implement rules aimed at cutting its vehicles' greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent between 2009 and 2016. A total of 18 states -- representing 45 percent of the nation's auto market -- have either adopted or pledged to implement California's proposed tailpipe emissions rules, but the administration's refusal to grant a waiver under the Clean Air Act has blocked the rules from taking effect.

According to the agency's documents and depositions by staff members, EPA officials unanimously endorsed granting California the waiver, and Johnson initially agreed. EPA Associate Deputy Administrator Jason Burnett testified under oath that Johnson "was very interested in a full grant of the waiver" in August and September of 2007 and later thought a partial grant of the waiver "was the best course of action." Burnett told the panel he thought Johnson had told White House officials that he supported a partial waiver and said there was "White House input into the rationale" for the Dec. 19 letter announcing EPA's complete denial of the waiver.

Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who will hold a hearing on the matter today, said the probe showed that President Bush had crossed a line. "The president has broad authority, but he is not above the law," Waxman said....

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 06:58 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. In some ways, I believe the presidential model we have has too much power vested in the president.
At least in quasi-parliamentary or parliamentary systems found in Europe, the chief executive is more beholden to the voters, unless he wants to risk a recall referendum.
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matt007 Donating Member (299 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 06:58 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. I'd love for us to move to a quasi parliament model.
More in line with the French system.

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comtec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 07:23 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. No you don't... the people have even LESS say that now
one vote... that's is.
you get one vote for your party (at least here in Holland) and that's all.
the party then places people as THEY SEE FIT to various posts, seats, et al in parliament.
No voting for a PERSON, you vote for a PARTY!
So.. no thanks.
The parliamentary system is great democracy for idiots, but has no place in the US.
I LIKE DIRECT voting. I LIKE CHOOSING whom I am voting FOR!
They may HAPPEN to all be democrats, but that is secondary imho to the PERSON I vote for!

The only reason other "democracies" can claim greater "involvement" on 'election day' is because it's SUCH a simple, sheep-fed system, that it's easy to give the masses the illusion of a democracy. They vote "the party" whatever party that is, and that's it. The party takes over from there and does the rest.
The corruption is amazing to be honest. And I'm genuinely surprised it's not MORE corrupt as it is already.

FYI here, there IS NO C-SPAN equivalent. At least in the UK they have a open (and entertaining) Parliament!
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Not necessarily true. In France, you vote for the person, not for the party.
Edited on Tue May-20-08 12:45 PM by Selatius
In the French General Assembly, they utilized single-member district majority (SMDM). What that simply means is they basically have each district represented by one person in the Assembly. Unlike in the US, they utilize run-off voting in case nobody achieves an absolute majority. In the US, the winner is the person who wins the plurality of the vote, not the majority. The US uses single-member district plurality (SMDP). With our system, you run into the problem of Duverger's Law, which predicts a two-party system outcome in most but not all cases.

This has led into a two-party system that few people are satisfied with here in America.

Your point about democracy for idiots is only partly true, given that not all parliamentary systems use party-list proportional representation to allocate seats. France was but one example. The German Bundestag is but another, allowing voters the option of voting for an individual for a particular seat as well as voting for a party.

Honestly, I haven't found one proponent yet of the two-party system here in America. That is what SMDP leads to.

In Switzerland, for instance, people have a direct say in the affairs of the state (it is the only country that can arguably claim to be a direct democracy as a result), as their Constitution empowers them with the ability to challenge a legislative action such as a disagreeable bill by calling a referendum on that bill, the ability to introduce their own laws through the initiative process if they feel the legislature is being recalcitrant on the issue, and the ability to recall sitting leaders by invoking a recall referendum. Such mechanisms would've been useful to hold Bush accountable a long time ago.

I'm not saying to junk the US system in favor of adopting a French or German or some system from another country entirely; only a fool would jump to such a conclusion, but I think a lot can be said for adopting certain aspects from other countries to enhance the Republic here.

The main aspect I wanted to get across was that I think the president has too much power. In quasi-parliamentary and even parliamentary systems, the power of the president is essentially split in half. You have the president and the prime minister. PM serves as "chief executive." President is "head-of-state." In the US, the roles are combined. I think that's too much concentration of power.
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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 06:58 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. "The president has broad authority, but he is not above the law"
Its hard not to be above the law, when you're making up the laws as you go.

- Or dispensing with them altogether with signing statements....

K&R!!!
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 02:15 PM
Response to Original message
14. So, the scientific rationale for not granting the waiver was . . . ?
Now, we all know that the Bush administration would never, e-e-e-ever politicize a decision that should be made strictly according to the most rigorous scientific analysis. Perhaps Mr. Johnson would care to produce the study that caused him to reverse his initial inclination to grant the waiver?
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