Vitter: Social Cost of Carbon Process Plagued by Lack of Transparency
With today’s SCC comment period deadline, Vitter still skeptical of transparency with process
February 26, 2014
U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, made the following statement regarding today's deadline for submitting comments on the increased social cost of carbon estimates. Vitter has been critical of the development of these estimates throughout the process, highlighting the lack of transparency and requesting information on who was involved with the Administration's hand-selected Interagency Working Group who are tasked with developing the social cost of carbon estimates.
"The Administration will use social cost of carbon estimates to justify costly and controversial regulations - which is exactly why we need to make sure there is transparency with the process," Vitter said. "Aside from the EPA's Air and Radiation Office, the Administration has kept the Interagency Working Group's participants completely anonymous. The whole process needs to be much more transparent, starting with who's involved."
In June 2013, Vitter led seven Senators in a letter to the EPA, Department of Energy (DOE), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), challenging the lack of transparency and openness in the development and revision process of the Administration's SCC estimates. In September 2013, the Senators followed up with Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator, regarding the Agency's involvement in the development and ultimate use of the SCC estimates in current and upcoming energy-related rules.
In November 2013, Vitter pressed Sarah Dunham, Director of the Office of Atmospheric Programs within the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, for substantial answers on the Agency's involvement in the SCC revision process. During questioning at an EPW Committee hearing, Ms. Dunham admitted on the record that her office assisted the Interagency Working Group, providing technical analysis and modeling for developing the SCC estimates. The next week, Vitter requested the names of the members of the anonymous Interagency Working Group and how their estimates are used to justify the benefits of Agency rulemaking. EPA has not yet responded.
In January 2014, Vitter and six Senators pressed the Administration for a transparent process to review the social cost of carbon (SCC). In the letter to Howard Shelanski, Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the Senators request that OIRA take several key steps to ensure a transparent review process of the SCC estimates produced by the Interagency Working Group, which have been used by multiple federal agencies to justify costly new rules and regulations.