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My son sent along the Good Bush Bad Bush image, a t-shirt design apparently; not to say that Bush is anything more than the epitome ... like Nixon before him ... and this guy, Stephen Johnson, is another mediocrity, family man, some kind of suc-cess ... I guess.
NYT Editorial, More Flimflam on Warming, March 29, 2008.
On April 2, 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Air Act clearly empowered the Environmental Protection Agency to address greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. The ruling instructed the agency to determine whether global warming pollution endangers public health and welfare — an “endangerment finding” — and, if so, to devise emissions standards for motor vehicles.
One year has passed, and despite repeated promises from President Bush and the E.P.A. administrator, Stephen Johnson, nothing has happened. And it seems increasingly likely that nothing will happen while Mr. Bush remains in office. Last week, Mr. Johnson notified Congress that he had discovered new regulatory complexities and decided against immediate action. Instead, he planned to offer an “advanced notice of proposed rule-making,” which requires a lengthy comment period and a laborious bureaucratic process that would almost certainly stretch beyond the end of Mr. Bush’s term.
It is easy to blame the hapless Mr. Johnson, a career civil servant whose higher profile predecessors quit or took other jobs rather than serve as punching bags for Vice President Dick Cheney and mouthpieces of the industries that the administrators were supposed to regulate. In this case, however, Mr. Johnson appears to have tried to do the right thing. He ordered his staff to write an endangerment finding and craft regulations limiting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from vehicles. In December, according to Congressional testimony from senior E.P.A. officials, he sent the whole package to the White House.
There it fell into a black hole. It does not much matter who pushed it in — the anti-regulatory zealots at the Office of Management and Budget, Mr. Cheney, the president. What matters is that the administration — despite all the blather about Mr. Bush’s newfound awareness of the dangers of climate change — has again refused to do anything about the problem, wasting another year in a struggle in which time is no one’s friend.
Congress is losing patience, as well it should. Representative Edward Markey’s Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming is scheduled to vote next week to subpoena agency documents in an effort to find out what Mr. Johnson and his staff members really wanted to do before the White House lowered the boom. At the same time, the states and other plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case are expected to ask the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, where the case originated, to order the E.P.A. to obey the law.
One must hope that Mr. Bush will eventually run out of places to hide from his obligations, but it hasn’t happened yet.