Home > Hot topics, Policy watch, Politics > Road Map to Corruption and Fraud – Whitman Rolls over for Bush

Road Map to Corruption and Fraud – Whitman Rolls over for Bush

Former EPA Administrator Christie Whitman testifies before House Judiciary Committee investigating her misleading post 9/11 statements that the air around ground zero was safe


Yesterday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued a devastating Report: “Political Interference with Climate Change Science Under the Bush Administrationhttp://oversight.house.gov/documents/20071210101633.pdf

The Report provides a rare inside look and detailed blow by blow account of exactly how the Bush Administration corrupted government and science to serve the interests of its oil and energy industry corporate backers.

The Report provides dozens of examples of how EPA Administrator Whitman rolled over and allowed Bush political hacks to dictate EPA science and law.

The Report serves as a virtual indictment of the the failures of leadership and professional integrity of major NJ political players: former Governor Christie Whitman and her legal counsel, Bob Fabricant, who she took to Washington and named EPA Chief Counsel.

How could such a critically important and poliiically juicy story go completely unreported in NJ press and political outlets

For the past 16 months, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee conducted an investigation into serious allegations of political interference with government climate change science under the Bush Administration.

During the course of the investigation, the Committee obtained over 27,000 pages of documents from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Commerce Department, held two investigative hearings, and deposed or interviewed key officials.

The inescapable conclusion of the investigation was that:

“the Bush Administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming.”

The report found:

“In 1998, the American Petroleum Institute developed an internal “Communications Action Plan” that stated: “Victory will be achieved when … average citizens ‘understand’ uncertainties in climate science … [and] recognition of uncertainties becomes part of the ‘conventional wisdom.'” The Bush Administration has acted as if the oil industry’s communications plan were its mission statement. White House officials and political appointees in the agencies censored congressional testimony on the causes and impacts of global warming, controlled media access to government climate scientists, and edited federal scientific reports to inject unwarranted uncertainty into discussions of climate change and to minimize the threat to the environment and the economy.”

To get a flavor of how systematic and corrupt the Bush people were – enabled at virtually every step along the way by EPA Administrator Whitman – the report made detailed findings to support conclusions that:

1. The White House Censored Climate Scientists
2. The White House Controlled which Climate Scientists Could Speak with the Media
3. The White House Extensively Edited Congressional Testimony Regarding Climate Science
4. The Bush Administration’s Censorship of Climate Scientists was Widespread
5. The White House Extensively Edited Climate Change Reports
6. The White House Edited the Strategic Plan of the Climate Change Science Program
7. The White House Edited EPA’s Report on the Environment
8. The White House Edited Our Changing Planet Report
9. The White House Eliminated the Climate Change Section of EPA’s Air Trends Report
10. The White House was Involved in Editing EPA’s Legal Opinions
11. The White House Edited the EPA Administrator’s Whitman’s Op-ed on Climate Change .

Aside from the war on science, perhaps on the most important issue – and embarassing for Whitman and Fabricant – the Report uncovered the inside story on how EPA’s legal position on global warming was reversed at the request of the energy industry.

Under the Clinton Administration, EPA’s legal position was that carbon dioxide – chief global warming gas – was a pollutant under the federal Clean Air Act and that EPA had legal authority to regulate emisisons by industry and coal power plants. Based on that opinion, EPA was developing regulations to reduce emissions. That legal position was reversed by Bush:

“On April 10, 1998, EPA General Counsel Jonathan Z. Cannon issued a legal opinion regarding “EPA’s Authority to Regulate Pollutants Emitted by Electric Power Generation Sources.”203 Mr. Cannon concluded that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases were “air pollutants” under the Clean Air Act and therefore subject to regulation by EPA. A year and a half later, a number of environmental organizations petitioned EPA to regulate emissions of certain greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act.204 On August 28, 2003, EPA denied this petition on the grounds that (1) EPA did not have authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act and (2) EPA determined that setting greenhouse gas emissions standards for motor vehicles was not appropriate at that time.205 The same day, Robert E. Fabricant, EPA’s then General Counsel, issued a new legal opinion overturning the Cannon memo and concluding that EPA did not have authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act because they are not “air pollutants.”206 EPA’s action was subsequently challenged by states and environmental groups.

On April 2, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in the case of Massachusetts v. EPA. The Court rejected the arguments put forth in the Fabricant memo and ruled that EPA has authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.

Documents obtained from CEQ reveal that CEQ Chairman James Connaughton was heavily involved in the decision that EPA would deny the petition to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles and personally edited the draft legal opinion of EPA’s General Counsel. The documents also show that CEQ ignored climate science when it edited these EPA decision documents, despite claims of CEQ officials that the National Academy of Sciences report on climate change was CEQ’s touchstone”.

Of course, the inside story told in the Report conflicts with prior public statements by Whitman that create the appearance that she was an environmental champion behind the scenes, working against the oil industry lobbyists, Vice President Cheney and chief White House advisor Andrew Card.

But, this sad tale on global warming is consistent with disclosures of how Whitman misled the public in the wake of 9/11 – recall that CEQ was involved in dictating Whitman’s false and misleading public statements that the air in the vicinity of ground zero was safe to breath. EPA’s own Inspector General issued a Report that chastized Whitman for those statements.

Will the NJ media hold the former Governor accountable for her role? They largely let her off the hook for the 9/11 debacle.

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  1. dude39innj
    December 13th, 2007 at 13:09 | #1

    This is what happens when you get a Texas Oil Man to run the country with a history of failure in the private sector.
    1)MBA – Yale
    2)Tried to be an oil entrepreneur in Texas failed
    3)Bought the Texas Rangers, which didn’t do much
    4)Governor of Texas

  2. joiseydude
    December 14th, 2007 at 09:48 | #2

    Whitman’s actions truly shame New Jersey. She acted as nothing more than a GOP tool — just like our very own Congressman Ferguson in fact. Whitman should be in jail for selling out the country.

  3. frankkerwin
    December 14th, 2007 at 10:44 | #3

    Hey Bill, are you still upset that you got fired during the Whitman adminstration?
    By the way, we just had a big argument. Does your organization have six, or seven members?

  1. September 5th, 2011 at 11:11 | #1
  2. September 8th, 2011 at 11:54 | #2
  3. December 13th, 2016 at 13:33 | #3
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