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Setting the Record Straight on Christie Whitman and Global Warming

Whitman Quietly Set Back Efforts to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions For a Decade While At EPA

The New York Times today provided a platform to former NJ Governor Christie Whitman to try to shape the Obama Administration’s second term priorities and policy.

Read her bizarrely revisionist, partisan, and hypocritical Op-Ed : Climate Change Should Be Front and Center, where she opens with this:

If nothing else, the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, both fiscal and physical, should put the issue of climate change front and center for President Obama’s second term.

Because Whitman is making self-serving and revisionist coastal land use and climate change policy claims, I am forced to set the record straight.

Whitman never made climate change “front and center” when she had the opportunity to do so as NJ Governor and as US EPA Administrator.

While her State Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn did pioneer a greenhouse gas emissions inventory for NJ [a politically safe move with no regulatory teeth], Whitman severely undermined efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while at EPA.

Whitman was NEVER held accountable for this little known but significant fact, and I’ve never seen media or environmental group criticism of it. (NRDC blamed the “do nothing Bush Administration”, as if Whitman had no role – but she brought EPA general counsel Bob Fabricant to Washington from Trenton (read on) – and I still recall the embarrassing NY Times article where she confused global warming with ozone depletion).

I will be very specific here.

While EPA Administrator – at Whitman’s direction –  Whitman’s chief legal counsel, Bob Fabricant, wrote a legal memo that reversed the Clinton Administration’s conclusion that CO2 was a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.

Whitman relied on that and did virtually nothing on global warming.

That set back national global warming emission reduction efforts by more than a decade.

Four years later, Fabricant’s analysis was rejected and reversed by the US Supreme Court in the Massachusetts” decision, which ruled that CO2 is a pollutant subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act (The Supreme Court even cites Fabricant’s opinion in the text of the opinion, (@ p.8) citing EPA Federal Register notice 68 Fed. Reg. 52924 – . 52925–52929 (2003 ):

On September 8, 2003, EPA entered an order denying the rulemaking petition. 68 Fed. Reg. 52922. The agency gave two reasons for its decision: (1) that contrary to the opinions of its former general counsels, the Clean Air Act does not authorize EPA to issue mandatory regulations to address global climate change, see id., at 52925–52929; and (2) that even if the agency had the authority to set greenhouse gas emission standards, it would be unwise to do so at this time, id., at 52929–52931.

I provide the full chronology and legal documents in links on this post (scroll down, this post begins with 9/11 dust issues).

Whitman is the ultimate hypocrite and revisionist!

(and I didn’t even mention her “coastal reforms” to NJ’s Coastal Area Facilities Review Act (CAFRA), which promoted lots of the sprawling coastal development that was just wiped out by Hurricane Sandy, the event that Whitman says should be a wakeup call! ) 

In concluding, a couple of facts are in order, as Whitman distorts history:

1. The Republicans blocked climate change legislation, and continue to do so – not the Democrats as Whitman misleadingly implies with this whopper:

It’s unfortunate that Democrats failed to pass cap-and-trade to limit carbon emissions when they had control of both chambers of Congress, as getting it through the House is going to be a tough challenge now.

2. The Obama Administration’s climate bill was a disaster – it included weak greenhouse gas emissions reductions and $60 billion in subsidies to “clean coal” (a sham).

The world’s leading climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, said this about the Obama cap & trade program:

Cap and trade with offsets would guarantee that we pass climate tipping points, locking in climate disasters for our children. Cap and trade benefits only Wall Street and polluters, sacrificing humanity and nature for their profits.”

PEER worked with EPA whistleblowers, two career enforcement lawyers, who made a superb video about why cap and trade can’t work:”The Huge Mistake”  - watch it!:

And last, here is full disclosure that should have been provided to NY Times readers:

1. Gov. Whitman’s hands are unclean – there’s blood on them – from her actions declaring the post 9/11 air in southern Manhattan safe, a move a federal judge found “shocked the conscience”. Many have died due to her reckless disregard (see this for links).

2. Whitman’s “open for business” policies in NJ, which included a failed and since rescinded “Open Market Emissions Trading” scheme, amounted to a war on the environment. All this is documented in her US Senate confirmation hearings as EPA Administrator, see this for transcript.

3. Whitman had her own “streamlining” “red tape” slashing policy, known as “STARR” – “Strategy for Regulatory Reform” – which amounted to little more than providing favors for special interests and political allies, by rolling back costly environmental protections.

4. Whitman should disclose her client’s economic interests, see:

The Nuclear Industry’s New Shill: Christie Todd Whitman

The last thing we need is Ms. Whitman righteously entering the debate.

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