Tuesday, May 20, 2008

EPA wastes tax money; launches smear campaign against Henry Waxman

The mess at EPA gets worse and worse. First Steve Johnson takes a dive on the California waiver (and ozone) because he is a creature of the White House and apparently loves the frills of his office. Then he repeatedly lies to the media.

And now, his "Office of Public Liason" is distributing trash talk about Henry Waxman, who's doing a heck of a job investigating EPA misdeeds. (See below -- EPA's distribution of the hatchet-job editorial from yesterday's Wall Street Journal.)

This is deplorable. What an incredible waste of taxpayers' money. EPA has become so political under Bush and Johnson that it's acting like it is running a smear-tactic presidential campaign.
It is time for Johnson to do one decent thing -- and resign!

-----Original Message-----
From: Briggs.Bill@epamail.epa.gov [mailto:Briggs.Bill@epamail.epa.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 9:42 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: EPA Office of Public Liaison Notice

In Case You Missed It...

Beverly Hillbully
May 19, 2008 - Wall Street Journal

In politics, not everything is at it seems. And there's no better
example than the case of the Congressman from Beverly Hills who is
crying "pollution" as a way to protect his own district's polluting

That politician is Henry Waxman, who is shouting at his usual 100
decibels that the Environmental Protection Agency hasn't imposed strict
enough standards on atmospheric ozone. Never mind that EPA Administrator
Stephen Johnson recently imposed the toughest standard in history at
0.075 parts per million. On Tuesday Mr. Waxman plans to assail Mr.
Johnson and White House regulatory czar Susan Dudley at a public
hanging, er, hearing for "interfering with sound science" on the ozone

Mr. Waxman purports to be upset because the EPA's science advisory board
had endorsed a standard between 0.06 and 0.07, down from the current
0.084. Many others, including government and industry officials from
around the country, had urged EPA to keep the current standard. Mr.
Johnson split the difference, explaining that virtually all of the
remaining human health risks from ozone could be eliminated at 0.075
parts per million.

This is a reasonable judgment given that ever-tighter ozone standards
cost a great deal to meet but yield ever-smaller gains in public health.
The big problem with the science board's recommendation is that nearly
90% of U.S. cities would have been in instant noncompliance. They would
then have had to limit vital economic activity – road building, factory
production – to meet the standard. And unemployment is bad for public
health too. The Congressman is also protesting that Ms. Dudley and
President Bush influenced the EPA's decision, as if the President
shouldn't control the executive branch.

As it happens, Mr. Waxman's own 30th California House district is
already in gross violation of even the 1997 Clinton Administration
standard of 0.084. This is part of the wealthy automobile mecca of Santa
Monica, Westwood and of course Beverly Hills. In fact, Southern
California is the only area in the country that has been designated by
the EPA to be in "extreme noncompliance" with the ozone standards, which
conveniently means it has been granted 20 years to clean up its act.

The odds are close to zero that Mr. Waxman's district could come
anywhere close to complying even with the new EPA standard, much less
the one the Congressman wants to impose on the entire country. According
to Joel Schwartz, a clean-air scientist with the American Enterprise
Institute, "even if Southern California abolished every automobile in
the metropolitan area, it couldn't meet these stricter rules." We'd love
to see how many of Mr. Waxman's constituents would give up the keys to
their Lexus convertibles and hop on a Los Angeles bus in exchange for a
minuscule improvement in air quality.

Ah, but here's the rest of the story: It is precisely this Los Angeles
pollution failure that is Mr. Waxman's real motivation for his anti-Bush
air pollution yapping. According to EPA records, the politicians who
lobbied most strenuously for the strictest ozone standards are from
cities and states with the dirtiest air. New York and California pols
were especially vocal. Meanwhile, the places that are generally meeting
clean air goals were more likely to request that the existing rules

What explains this paradox? States and cities like California that
haven't met the clean air guidelines have been losing factories and new
businesses to places that can. So one way for greens and their political
allies to create a "level playing field" is to make the clean air
standards so unachievable that virtually all U.S. cities can't comply.
It's a classic beggar-thy-neighbor political strategy.

And it punishes all of those cities that worked hard over the years to
reach attainment, most of them far less affluent than Mr. Waxman's tony
environs. That's the real story behind the phony ozone outrage he is
staging on Tuesday. The Congressman from Beverly Hills is all for
cleaning up the air – except in his own backyard.


Bill Briggs
Office of Public Outreach
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
202.564.7729 office
202.412.8885 cell

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