From the Los Angeles Times:
In the early days of the Bush presidency, Vice President Dick Cheney came under attack for drafting a national energy policy in secret. Now, as the Bush presidency winds down, Cheney is again coming under attack for his behind-the-scenes efforts to play down the threats of global warming in order to thwart regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who chairs the Senate Environment Committee, leveled the attack today, accusing the vice president and other administration officials of “recklessly” seeking to censor testimony about the dangers of global warming and working behind the scenes to block new regulation.
“This cover-up is being directed from the White House and the office of the vice president,” she said.
WASHINGTON, July 8 (Reuters)[…]
At issue is a preliminary finding by the EPA last December that “greenhouse gases may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public welfare,” according to Jason Burnett, the agency’s former associate deputy administrator who appeared at a news conference with Boxer.
Such a finding would be an early step toward government regulation aimed at protecting public health.
Burnett, who resigned on June 9, told Boxer’s committee the White House tried pressuring him to retract an e-mail om which he detailed the finding. Burnett said he refused.
Boxer said that unless EPA documents were released, it was likely that within the next two weeks her committee would try to subpoena the material. She did not know whether Republicans on the panel would block the effort.
She has been trying since last October to obtain related documents to show that planned congressional testimony on global warming by Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was censored by the Bush administration.
Boxer said Gerberding’s testimony would have detailed the direct impact of rising global temperatures on human health, including mortality and the spread of disease.
Burnett told the congressional committee the administration’s Council on Environmental Quality “and the office of the vice president were seeking deletions to the CDC testimony.” He refused to say who in Vice President Richard Cheney’s office was involved.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Clean Air Act gives EPA the authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Last October, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Gerberding’s draft testimony to Congress “did not comport” with science contained in an International Panel on Climate Change report and that “a number of agencies had some concerns with the draft.”
On Tuesday, Boxer said that Gerberding’s planned testimony, which has since been detailed in media reports, and the IPCC report “matched identically.”
Does all this have the ring of deja vu? From the Los Angeles Times, June 21, 2008:
“I don’t think we’ve had a situation like this since Richard Nixon was president,” Rep. Henry A. Waxman said yesterday after the Bush administration invoked executive privilege to refuse to turn over subpoenaed documents in an investigation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to deny California permission to implement its own vehicle emission standards.