Back in April, the U.S. Supreme court was faced with the issue of whether the EPA had authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases. It was a hotly contested case because the EPA, instead of being the public watch dog, had become the Bush White house family lapdog. It took the position it had no authority to monitor the issue so it would not have to take action on an issue opposed by the big car manufacturers. But, in spite of the loaded court, it lost and the court directed the EPA to determine whether the emissions do endanger the public health and welfare. If it did, then the EPA would be required to regulate the emissions to hinder more accumulation of greenhouse gases which produce global warming.
So, what the EPA do about this court defeat? It did what the Bush administration has always done, it simply ignored the law and stonewalled. It did nothing. Now, almost a year later, EPA administrator Stephen Johnson was asked by a Senate Sub-committee: why not and when will you do what the Supreme Court ordered you to do? His answer was a classic Bush administration stall, he said he just couldn’t say when the EPA would comply.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein D-Calif repeatedly asked him how many employees he had working on the issue. She asked if anyone was working on the issue. His response was:
"I just don’t know the answer to that."
Johnson had promised a response to the court ruling by last Fall, but then let the deadline pass without any response. Johnson was a career EPA employee before President Bush appointed him to the position. He has been the focus of intense criticism for a series of decisions blocking or refusing to act with regard to environmental issues. He again defended his decision to deny California the right to pass laws regulating emissions from vehicles even though Washington and dozen other states have sued him. Internal documents have emerged showing his own staff recommended a waiver for California, but he, following Bush administration policy refused to follow the recommendations.
Mr. Bush may be a lame duck president, but he continues to march to the order of car manufacturers and big business interests while causing ongoing harm to our environment