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Sierra Club
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet
RAW: Uncooked Truth, Beyond Belief

Issue #246
March 7, 2008
Environmental Procrastination Agency
Josh Dorner

In the past two months details have slowly leaked out about the various shenanigans inside the Bush administration that culminated in EPA Administrator Johnson's decision to illegally deny California the permission it needs to move forward with its landmark clean cars program.

Well, things got a whole lot more bizarre last week.

First, we learned that Margo Oge, head of transportation and air quality at EPA, had a deputy of hers write up talking up points for former Bush I EPA Administrator Bill Reilly to deliver to current Administrator Johnson. The TPs about why the California waiver must be granted included tidbits like a heavy hint that Johnson would have to resign if he denied the waiver ("You have to find a way to get this done. If you cannot, you will face a pretty big personal decision about whether you are able to stay in the job under those circumstances."), that there was no legal reason to deny it ("It is obvious to me that there is no legal or technical justification for denying this"), and finally appealed to Johnson's long career at EPA ("I fear the credibility of the agency that we both love will be irreparably damaged.").

Last Friday EPA finally released the official documents explaining its reason for giving California and at least 15 other states the middle finger treatment. The documents offered up the previously supplied explanation that California's need to control global warming was not "extraordinary and compelling." Why? Because, as the documents outline, any number of terrible things to do with global warming are going to happen everywhere! Which is exactly why the Bush administration is poised to do…nothing?

In fact, it's now been almost a year since the landmark decision in the Massachusetts v. EPA global warming case and the administration has yet to do a single thing in response to the Supreme Court ruling -- despite public promises by both EPA and President Bush himself that draft regulations would be prepared by the end of last year.

We enviros sent a letter in January reminding the EPA that we hadn't forgotten about our victory at the Court and expected them to tell us by last Wednesday exactly when they were planning to do what the High Court ordered them to. EPA's response? Um, we're still thinking about it. A response that Johnson himself seconded before a Senate committee this week. When pressed to explain how many people at the agency he had assigned to at least think about what to do, it sounded an awful lot like a big fat goose egg. (Video)

Did they change it to the Environmental Procrastination Agency when I wasn't looking?

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