EPW FACT OF THE DAY: Clinton EPA Administrator’s Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda
April 24, 2007
Posted by Matthew_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov
During today’s Senate Environment and Public Works hearing, former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Carol Browner demanded the current agency immediately regulate greenhouse gases now that the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the agency may do so under the Clean Air Act. Browner asserted that the Bush Administration should be able to take action within six months or less to regulate C02.
FACT: The reality however, as explained by EPA’s former general counsel Ann Klee, is that there is a complex set of decisions that need to be made. This is an extremely complex issue, where dozens of provisions of the Clean Air Act need to be evaluated.
While Browner denies this complexity now -- she declared that this is a "moral" issue in which the current EPA must and can act quickly -- her own words and actions betray her.
In 1997, in a speech at Florida State University, Browner said that "The science of this phenomenon is compelling…Do we know everything there is to know about global climate change? No. Do we know exactly what will happen in the decades ahead? Of course not. But we have enough to go on – based on years of rigorous scientific analysis – to know that we must begin dealing with this problem. And we should act sooner, rather than later…"
In 1998, before a House Appropriations Subcommittee, Browner was asked if she thought the Clean Air Act allows the EPA to regulate the emissions of carbon dioxide. Browner replied "I think we are granted broad authority under the Clean Air Act to." Additionally, she obtained a legal memo from her General Counsel supporting her position.
When asked by Senator Inhofe today why she did not act – if she believed the science justified action and she had the authority to act – Browner replied, "We were working on it and if we had been given another four years, I am sure we would have done it."
Apparently Browner believes that what would have taken her 12 years to accomplish should only take the current EPA six months.
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