Recently we posted on the EPA highly unusual (as in unprecedented) decision to reject Californian’s new greenhouse gas regulations. Why did they do it? Good question and one the California Congressional delegation wanted an answer to. To whom did EPA talk about the regulations? Who advised them to reject it? Sorry. Mum’s the word. Actually its words. Executive privilege:
Invoking executive privilege, the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday refused to provide lawmakers with a full explanation of why it rejected California’s greenhouse gas regulations.
The EPA informed Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., that many of the documents she had requested contained internal deliberations or attorney-client communications that would not be shared now with Congress.
“EPA is concerned about the chilling effect that would occur if agency employees believed their frank and honest opinions and analysis expressed as part of assessing California’s waiver request were to be disclosed in a broad setting,” EPA’s associate administrator Christopher P. Bliley wrote.
More than a week after a deadline set by Boxer, the agency gave her environmental committee a box of documents with numerous pages left almost entirely blank and others with key information redacted, Boxer said. (AP via Yahoo News)
Many people were encouraged when California’s Republican governor signed legislation establishing greenhouse gas standards for trucks, SUVs and cars. It requires car makers to cut tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases by 30% by 2016. A third of the states were prepared to follow California’s lead. I guess States Rights are only important to these guys when it’s a Right they like, so EPA nixed California’s initiative. Now they are refusing to provide a full explanation.
I suppose you could say they did supply a partial explanation. Partial, as in a 43 slide Power Point presentation where 16 pages had everything but the titles eliminated. I know. It’s a hard program to use. Apparently there’s also a lot of redacted stuff in other documents and still others not made available. EPA must know they are on shaky grounds because they are offering to allow Boxer and her staff to view the documents privately and even take notes on them. If so, then why not release them? Probably because they look pretty bad in stark black and white.
The EPA is being sued by California and 15 other states for this piece of administrative malpractice. So you can sympathize with this additional explanation by EPA’s associate administrator Christopher P. Bliley:
“Further disclosure of this type of confidential information could jeopardize the agency’s ability to effectively litigate claims related to California’s waiver request,” the EPA’s Bliley wrote.
Translation: We refuse to answer on the grounds it may incriminate us.