It was no surprise that during today’s Senate hearing on the Bush administration’s manipulation of global warming science, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) — a notorious global warming denier — defended the White House. Yet in his opening statement, Inhofe took that defense to the extreme, praising the “Unitary Executive Concept” and claiming it “enhances democratic accountability.” He declared that, since Bush has the right to tell his “subordinates” at the EPA to do whatever he wishes, Bush’s “censorship” of the EPA is “a nonissue”:
INHOFE: 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.
Bush’s “unitary concept” — an effective stranglehold over the EPA — has empowered his administration to trample science in the name of promoting his own partisan, anti-environment agenda:
– At the behest of Dick Cheney, the White House eviscerated testimony on global warming by a CDC official, stripping all reference to the health problems associated with a boiling climate.
– By simply refusing to open an e-mail from the EPA on climate change, the White House effectively forced the EPA to reverse its position that global warming emissions constituted pollution that must be regulated under the Clean Air Act.
– Bush personally intervened to weaken EPA regulations on ozone levels, directly overruling the unanimous consensus of the EPA scientific advisory committee.
– The White House directly pushed EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to deny a state waiver to regulate auto emissions, in direct contradiction of the advice of EPA’s career staffers.
Though it may be a “nonissue” to Inhofe, it’s clear that under Bush, the EPA has morphed into the “Environmental Politicization Agency.”