Wednesday, April 09, 2008

EPA Administrator Bucking the Wax Attack

God Damn, I will miss this House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

As Kurt Davies of Greenpeace said to me the other day, "You really don't want Henry Waxman (D-CA) as your enemy." The 17-term (!!!) congressman's absence of further political ambitions and unflinchingly liberal base (his district includes West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica) have afforded him the opportunity to investigate all the dirt he sees fit. And currently, the man who the Nation once called the "Eliot Ness of the Democrats" sees fit to drop three subpoenas on Bush's EPA in three months ("Boo Yah!!!")—all in a pitched battle for the internal documents pertaining to the agency's refusal to accept California's petition to set its own standards on automotive greenhouse gas emissions.

But EPA administrator Stephen Johnson will not budge. In the two weeks between the Uncanny Waxman's second and third subpoenas, the agency head has:
  1. requested that Special H's Oversight Committee instead give him their documents detailing the closed-door interviews with seven senior EPA officials, heavily referenced in Wax's first subpoena
  2. shelved his agency's findings that greenhouse gases are a danger to the public, telling Congress that he will initiate a lengthy public comment period about whether such emissions are a risk
  3. initiated preparations for a two-week trip to Australia for the purposes of discussing "shared environmental goals and challenges with our global partners" — leaving him unable to testify before Senator Barbara Boxer's environmental committee until he gets back, and
  4. released a lot of heavily redacted bullcrap.
It's no secret that Wax—an ardent Israel supporter who keeps kosher—has been practicing his own style of reform Judaism all up and down the politicized science of Bush's EPA. The Beverly Hills Cop has fired off a letter questioning them for excessive legal fees spent in the name of avoiding "action that differs from the Administration's policy preferences"; he's uncovered a clear attempt on EPA administrator Stephen Johnson's part to avoid compliance with the Supreme Court's ruling that it must regulate CO2; and he's on the hunt for any documents related to Johnson's rejection of expert recommendations for new limits on ozone pollution.

I still haven't gotten someone from the Oversight Committee to tell me what they plan on doing if the administration tries to just ride this out until next January, but I expect it's gonna be a fun ride. Heads will role when you drop the Wax!

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