Chairman Boxer's Opening Statement at a Full Committee hearing entitled, "Oversight of EPA’s Decision to Deny the California Waiver"
January 24, 2008
(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
The purpose of today's hearing is to continue the Environment and Public Works Committee's investigation into the unconscionable decision by the EPA Administrator to deny California and the other states the opportunity to cut global warming pollution from motor vehicles.
In my many years in the House and in the Senate, I have never seen such disregard and disrespect by an Agency head for Congress and for the Committee with responsibility for oversight of his Agency.
When it comes to global warming, time is of the essence. And yet two years have gone by as EPA dragged out the process of reviewing California's petition for a waiver to fight global warming.
It's not just California that suffers.
Fourteen other states have adopted California's standards, or are in the process of adopting them. Another four are moving toward adopting the California standards. All together, those 19 states represent more than 152,000,000 Americans - a majority of the U.S. population.
I would like to place in the record a letter to Administrator Johnson, signed yesterday by governors - Republicans and Democrats -- of fourteen states, expressing their disappointment in EPA's unprecedented failure to abide by federal law, ignoring the rights of states and the will of millions of people.
I also would like to place in the record a statement by the Speaker of the California State Assembly, Fabian Nunez. He calls on the EPA to reverse its decision, not just for Californians, not just for the states that have joined California in this fight, not just for the citizens of the United States, but for the future of the planet.
I would also like to place a statement in the record from the Attorney General of California. He makes clear that it is crucial that EPA's waiver decision be reversed as soon as possible.
I would also like to place in the record a statement from the Governor of Connecticut, Jodi Rell. Governor Rell objects to EPA's unprecedented decision to deny the California waiver, blocking Connecticut from taking action necessary to protect the people of the state. She strongly and unequivocally conveys her disappointment with the decision.
There remains much work to be done as we work to uncover the facts behind this unsupported decision.
EPA has failed to fully respond to our request for information, has limited access and censored documents, and has left open-ended the timeline for compliance with this Committee's request. This failure to cooperate with the oversight committee is unacceptable and must be corrected.
The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment.
The Administrator's decision does neither.
The people who pay the Administrator's salary have a right to know how he came to a decision that is so far removed from the facts, the law, the science and the precedent.
I would like to use the balance of my time to question the Administrator so that we can get to the truth about this indefensible decision.