Senate GOP Prevents EPA Document Subpoena; Contents Discussed

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 25 Jul 2008 03:34:00 GMT

A vote on the issuance of a subpoena for the draft endangerment finding on global warming emissions rejected at the highest levels in the White House was stymied when Republican members boycotted the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works business meeting, preventing a quorum.

Ironically, the committee’s ranking minority member, James Inhofe (R-Okla.), put out a press release complaining about the “Democratic Party’s Obstruction,” with respect to acceding to Republican demands for voting on their terms on increased drilling and development of unconventional fuels.

White House counsel Fred Fielding, in a July 21 letter to Boxer, refused to voluntarily turn over the document, explaining:

Your letter, by its very terms, calls for pre-decisional and deliberative communications of White House advisors and Executive Branch officials. For these reasons, the request plainly implicates well-established separation of powers concerns and Executive Branch confidentiality interests.
The committee’s chair, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), was reduced to issuing a statement on the humiliating treatment she and fellow Senators have received in investigating the EPA decision:
Picture this:

Three Senators huddled around one document – an EPA document that concludes that global warming endangers the American people, a document kept from the public by the White House. United States Senators compelled to take whatever notes they can, from a document only revealed to us under the watchful eyes of two White House lawyers.

Boxer did reveal excerpts of the draft endangerment finding, which has been made public in redacted and altered form as the “Draft Technical Support Document – Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act” to the “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act.”

The draft finding, which reflected EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson’s decision to recognize the threat of global warming, includes the following excerpt:

In sum, the Administrator is proposing to find that elevated levels of GHG concentrations may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public welfare.

Johnson reversed his decision under pressure from the White House.

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