Friday, July 11, 2008

Footdragging 101

If by chance you are ever named the head of an administrative agency, and you don't want to do something youa required by law to do, I would suggest you follow in the footsteps of a master: EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to announce today that it will seek months of further public comment on the threat posed by global warming to human health and welfare -- a matter that federal climate experts and international scientists have repeatedly said should be urgently addressed.

The Supreme Court, in a decision 15 months ago that startled the government, ordered the EPA to decide whether human health and welfare are being harmed by greenhouse gas pollution from cars, power plants and other sources, or to provide a good explanation for not doing so. But the administration has opted to postpone action instead ...
To defer compliance with the Supreme Court's demand, the White House has walked a tortured policy path, editing its officials' congressional testimony, refusing to read documents prepared by career employees and approved by top appointees, requesting changes in computer models to lower estimates of the benefits of curbing carbon dioxide, and pushing narrowly drafted legislation on fuel-economy standards that officials said was meant to sap public interest in wider regulatory action.

The decision to solicit further comment overrides the EPA's written recommendation from December. Officials said a few senior White House officials were unwilling to allow the EPA to state officially that global warming harms human welfare.
And in other situations, don't you wish you could avoid paying federal income taxes by refusing to open the letter sent by the IRS? Or change witnesses testimony with impunity when being sued? Or when the United State Supreme Court orders you to do something, you just pretend you need to think about it and let the clock tick down on your tenure.

In my opinion, this has been one of the most eggregious examples of disreggard for the other two (and under the constitution, co-equal) branches of government by the executive branch--yes, even more eggregious than the White House's War on Terror policies.

The only good news is that no matter who wins in Novemeber, the EPA will be radically different come January 21st, 2009.

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