Friday, March 18, 2005

More on Rove / Bush Disdain for the EPA

More digging, and found this interesting report from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Here's an amazing narrative:

In May 2002, President Bush expressed disdain for a State Department
report5 to the United Nations that pointed to a clear human role in the
accumulation of heat-trapping gases and detailed the likely negative
consequences of climate change; the president called it “a report put out by the
bureaucracy.”6 In September 2002, the administration removed a section on
climate change from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual air
pollution report,7 even though the climate issue had been discussed in the
report in each of the preceding five years.
Then, in one well-documented case, the Bush administration blatantly tampered with the integrity of scientific analysis at a federal agency when, in June 2003, the White House tried to make a series of changes to the EPA’s draft Report on the
Environment.8 A front-page article in the New York Times broke the news
that White House officials tried to force the EPA to substantially alter the
report’s section on climate change. The EPA report, which referenced the NAS
review and other studies, stated that human activity is contributing
significantly to climate change.9
Interviews with current and former EPA staff, as well as an internal EPA memo reviewed for this report, revealed that the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Management and Budget demanded major amendments including:

The deletion of a temperature record covering 1,000 years in order to, according to the EPA memo, emphasize “a recent, limited analysis [that] supports the administration’s favored message.”10
The removal of any reference to the NAS review—requested by the White House itself—that confirmed human activity is contributing to climate change.11
The insertion of a reference to a discredited study of temperature records funded in part by the American Petroleum Institute.12
The elimination of the summary statement—noncontroversial within the science community that studies climate change—that “climate change has global consequences for human health and the environment.”13

According to the internal EPA memo, White House officials demanded so many qualifying words such as “potentially” and “may” that the result would have been to insert “uncertainty...where there is essentially none.”14
In a political environment described by now-departed EPA
Administrator Christine Todd Whitman as “brutal,”15 the entire section on
climate change was ultimately deleted from the version released for public
comment.16
According to internal EPA documents and interviews with EPA researchers,
the agency staff chose this path rather than compromising their credibility by
misrepresenting the scientific consensus.17 Doing otherwise, as one current,
high-ranking EPA official puts it, would “poorly represent the science and
ultimately undermine the credibility of the EPA and the White House.”18

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