Earlier this month, former EPA official Jason Burnett wrote to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) with explosive revelations on how the White House has neutered climate change science to protect corporate interests. For example, OMB general counsel Jeffrey Rosen asked for multiple memos on whether carbon dioxide (CO2) from cars and plants could be regulated differently.
In a Senate hearing today, Burnett further explained that under the Clear Air Act, “after a pollutant is a regulated pollutant, controls are required on a variety of sources.” During the “inter-agency process,” Burnett said, OMB officials looked for ways to define CO2 from power plants as different from CO2 from automobiles, in order to shield industrial power plants from regulation under the landmark Supreme Court decision Massachusetts v. EPA:
BURNETT: There was quite a bit of effort and interest to see whether the Supreme Court case itself and regulation of CO2 and other greenhouse gases from automobiles be restricted to just automobiles. … So there’s an interest to determine whether we could define CO2 from automobiles as somehow different than CO2 from power plants, for example —
SEN. KLOBUCHAR: Do you think that’s possible?
BURNETT: Clearly it wasn’t supportable.
It is common knowledge that carbon dioxide is the same chemical regardless of what source emits it. But for the White House, which unabashedly asserts its anti-environment agenda, the definition of CO2 can change to help big polluters.
“I must say that it was sometimes somewhat embarrassing,” Burnett admitted, “for me to return to EPA and ask for my colleagues to explain yet again that CO2 is a molecule and there is no scientific way of differentiating between CO2 from car and a power plant.”