Opening Statement of Senator Barbara Boxer
Business Meeting to Consider a Subpoena
July 23, 2008 (Remarks as prepared for delivery)
A very disturbing pattern of events has unfolded before this committee, which should be of deep concern to all of us regardless of party.
Information is being kept from us, and by extension information is being kept from the American people.
And this isn't just any kind of information.
It is information that deals with the health, the safety and the very lives of the people we represent and their children and their grandchildren.
First as a mother and as a grandmother let me say this: If someone had information that I knew could save the life of any member of my family and they would not give that information to me, I would fight for it.
I would do anything I could in my power to get it, because of the deep feelings I have to protect my family.
It would be my sacred responsibility to do so.
I think all of us know about those feelings and I think all of us have, or should have, the fight in us to get this information for our families and the families of the people we represent. That is our job.
The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency concludes in this document that there is an endangerment to the American people based on the strongest possible evidence. It is clear. It is chilling. It is detailed.
It recounts, point by point, the unequivocal evidence for global warming, and the growing list of the impacts unchecked global warming will have on our people and on every region of our country.
The threats in this endangerment finding by the Administrator of EPA include:
• Dangers to coastal communities from sea level rise, storm surge flooding and shoreline erosion.
• Dangers, including increased risk of death, to people from heat waves that are more intense, more frequent, and longer-lasting.
• Threats to communities from increases in wildfires and the wildfire season.
• Threats to the economy and our communities from scarce water resources
• Dangers to the ecosystems on which life depends.
That information belongs to the American people and we must get it to them. Then they will decide whether we should act to prevent this coming crisis or sit on our hands.
We have tools now to address this crisis. That information belongs to the American people and we must get it to them. Then they will decide whether we should act to prevent this crisis or sit on our hands.
The tragedy here is that if we do act on global warming we know that the benefits will include green jobs, lower energy costs when the technologies come on line, and freedom from foreign oil.
Here's where we are today.
There is a proposed endangerment finding out there that I have fought to get for this committee. At least two Republicans have said that before they make up their mind on the subpoena to make this document public, they need to see it for themselves.
Unfortunately, the endangerment finding was not brought over by the White House Counsel's office until about 4:30 yesterday, despite our longstanding request. The White House conditioned our review of the document, not allowing us to copy it or to do more than take "reasonable notes."
My staff has read the document in detail and briefed me. I read it, and have more work to do.
This proposed endangerment finding, by the Administrator of EPA, concludes that the welfare of the American people is endangered if steps are not taken to avoid the ravages of unchecked global warming.
In this document, in EPA's own words, we see that the law is clear, that the scientific evidence is sufficient, and that we must act. I have been informed that the Administrator and his senior staff participated directly in the preparation of this endangerment finding, and at the highest levels, and approved its transmission to the White House.
There is no excuse, there is no argument that could possibly support withholding this endangerment finding from the American people, and I will continue to do everything I can to provide the public with as much information as possible.
So my colleagues I hope you will be heard this morning on the way you feel about this matter.
This committee has a responsibility to the people of America to make this document public.
I urge everyone to read this document even in this difficult set of circumstances, with the White House watching you, and then join with me in voting to subpoena this document so that the American people can see it in its entirety.
We are open for discussion.
Immediately following the conclusion of the business meeting, Senator Boxer held a press conference to brief reporters on the details of EPA's Proposed Endangerment Finding for greenhouse gases. To view a video of this press conference click HERE.