EPA Documents on California Greenhouse Gas Waiver Denial
I have always been proud of what epa has done, until today.”
– EPA scientist, internal e-mail, 12/20/2007
In December 2005, the state of California petitioned the US Environmental Protection Agency for permission to create its own global warming regulations. CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sought a waiver from the EPA to limit emissions of greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide (CO2).
Two years later, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson rejected the CA request.
Congressional hearings produced evidence that Johnson’s decision was actually made by the White House and imposed on the EPA — against the recommendations of agency scientific staff. (For a more complete overview, go here.)
During its investigation, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Henry Waxman (D-CA), obtained many EPA documents relevent to the waiver denial. Some of these are posted on the Committee Website.
The US Senate also investigated the decision, through the Committee on Environment and Public Works, chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). The EPA eventually turned over documents to Boxer’s committee. Many were duplicates of the ones made available to the House committee.
In early 2008, I filed FOIA requests (Freedom of Information Act) for government documents related to the CA waiver denial. In September 2008, the EPA responded with two CDs containing internal files, primarily E-mails. While all files had previously been made available to Congress, many have not been released publicly. As a journalist, I intend to publish excerpts from these documents in articles and in a forthcoming book. However, the documents belong to the American people and they should have immediate access to them.
They appear exactly as delivered, pdf files transferred from the CDs to the Web.
Be sure to check back — I’ll post more files as I receive them.
A quick shout-out to my colleagues at the Society of Environmental Journalists who helped in crafting what is known in the business as a kick-ass FOIA request.