As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lobbying for Global Warming

Yesterday, the UN held a major conference on climate change (Bush was a no-show) and the Secretary-General called for immediate action to preserve the future of the planet. In a separate event, the President will call for a consensus about the world's highest-emitting nations that would allow each to set their own voluntary limits on greenhouse gas emissions instead of it being ordered by an international treaty.

Not a good idea, I know. But let's accept Bush's logic for a moment (and only a moment, before you slip into dementia). He believes that governing entities should be given latitude to make the climate change policies that they see fit, rather than having them signaled from on high. Unless, of course, that refers to states in this country and the one on high is him:

The Bush administration has conducted a concerted, behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to try to generate opposition to California's request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, according to documents obtained by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform [...]

A flurry of e-mails among Transportation Department (DOT) officials and between its staffers and the White House, released yesterday, highlights efforts that administration officials have made to stir up public opposition to the waiver. Rather than attacking California's request outright, Bush officials quietly reached out to two dozen congressional offices and a handful of governors to try to undermine it.

One May 22 e-mail written by Jeff Shane, undersecretary of transportation for policy, outlined how Transportation Secretary Mary Peters orchestrated the campaign. Peters "asked that we develop some ideas asap about facilitating a pushback from governors (esp. D's) and others opposed to piecemeal regulation of emissions, as per CA's waiver petition," Shane wrote. "She has heard that such objections could have an important effect on the way Congress looks at the issue."

Waxman has been investigating this issue for some time. In fact, back in June, he even released a voice mail from a DOT staffer to a member of Congress asking them to oppose the EPA waiver for California. But this new data is just more evidence of the total politicization of federal agencies, and the ideologically driven desire to stop all efforts to curb the production of greenhuse gas emissions. It also happens to be completely illegal to use our tax dollars to mount such a behind-the-scenes campaign.

In a letter yesterday to James L. Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) asked him to "repudiate these efforts."

"If Secretary Peters has concerns about whether California's application meets the legal standards set forth in the Clean Air Act, she should submit comments to EPA making her case," wrote Waxman, chairman of the oversight panel, which negotiated for three months to have the documents released. "Instead of taking this action, however, she apparently sought and received White House approval to use taxpayer funds to mount a lobbying campaign designed to inject political considerations into the decision."

The Governor is on a barnstorming tour, selling his own action on climate change to the UN (while conveniently forgetting to mention firing the head of the Air Resources Board because he was pushing too hard for emission reductions, or the three important environmental bills on his desk he has yet to sign). He may want to speak up about this effort to undermine all anti-global warming efforts, which incidentally is coming from the standard-bearer of his own party. Or he could keep giving speeches and savor applause.

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