The White House is full of children.
In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA must determine whether greenhouse gases represent a danger to health or the environment. The EPA, under Bush Administration influence, had been dragging its heels on the issue, saying that it was not part of its duties. The Supreme Court said, "Oh, yes it is".
So the EPA made its determination. They studied the issue and concluded that greenhouse gases are pollutants that must be controlled. They sent — by email — their findings to the White House, who would then have to, you know, do something about it.
But those clever people at the White House had a plan. Knowing what the email contained, they decided not to open the EPA’s email. That was back in December (although we’re only finding out about it now).
Following that clever ruse, the White House set out to pressure the EPA to water down their original conclusion:
This week, more than six months later, the E.P.A. is set to respond to that order by releasing a watered-down version of the original proposal that offers no conclusion. Instead, the document reviews the legal and economic issues presented by declaring greenhouse gases a pollutant.
Over the past five days, the officials said, the White House successfully put pressure on the E.P.A. to eliminate large sections of the original analysis that supported regulation, including a finding that tough regulation of motor vehicle emissions could produce $500 billion to $2 trillion in economic benefits over the next 32 years. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
Both documents, as prepared by the E.P.A., “showed that the Clean Air Act can work for certain sectors of the economy, to reduce greenhouse gases,” one of the senior E.P.A. officials said. “That’s not what the administration wants to show. They want to show that the Clean Air Act can’t work.”
The EPA, by the way, is supposed to be an independent agency. From its website:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in the executive branch as an independent agency pursuant to Reorganization Plan #3 of 1970, effective December 2, 1970.
That means political branches can’t mess with it. But this is the Bush White House. *Sigh*