Senate Environment and Public Works Full Committee
An Update on the Science of Global Warming and its Implications
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Madame Chairman, I am very disappointed to see that this Committee is once again beginning its deliberations on global warming in the wrong manner.Rather than focusing on substantive issues that would be helpful to the debate on global warming legislation, this Committee is choosing to engage in more political theater with a predetermined outcome.The rushed process and the complete lack of understanding of the policy implications of the Lieberman Warner doomed it from the start. Opposition to the bill was not limited to Republicans, as nearly 30% of Senate Democrats refused to support the bill.
If this Committee were serious in undertaking efforts to draft global warming policy rather than score political points, it should be focusing its efforts in a much more methodical and deliberative manner that acknowledges the complexity of the issues surrounding any mandatory emission reduction policy.Regardless of my own position on this topic, the Committee should be exploring issues to help build a record on how to draft a cap and trade system, the level of technology currently available to achieve reductions, how to allocate credits, how to design an auction system, how to create a domestic offset program, what the international impacts will be on trade and particularly exports, how to effectively contain costs through a transparent mechanism, and the list could go on.
Instead we are here to politicize the internal deliberative process of the Administration under the guise of an update on the science of global warming hearing. While I welcome the opportunity to discuss the latest science on global warming, doing it in this heavily political setting with a predetermined outcome focused on internal deliberations of the Executive is not the right venue for such discussion.It is my view that regardless of Administration, the President acting through the entire executive branch is fully entitled to express his policy judgments to the EPA Administrator, and to expect his subordinate to carry out the judgment of what the law requires and permits.It can be argued that the “unitary Executive concept” promotes more effective rulemaking by bringing a broader perspective to bear on important regulatory decisions.It also enhances democratic accountability for regulatory decision-making by pinning responsibility on the President to answer to the public for the regulatory actions taken by his Administration. Therefore, I consider this debate over censorship within the Administration to be a nonissue.All administrations edit testimony and all documents go through interagency review before any final agency action. I cannot support any investigations that could have a chilling effect within the deliberative process of the Administration, and cause future career and political employees from refraining from an open and honest dialogue.