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By: Mark Tapscott Editorial Page Editor 07/08/09 5:52 PM EDT

Carol Browner, former Clinton administration EPA head and current Obama White House climate czar, instructed auto industry execs “to put nothing in writing, ever” regarding secret negotiations she orchestrated regarding a deal to increase federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-WI, is demanding a congressional investigation of Browner’s conduct in the CAFE talks, saying in a letter to Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA, that Browner “intended to leave little or no documentation of the deliberations that lead to stringent new CAFE standards.”

Federal law requires officials to preserve documents concerning significant policy decisions, so instructing participants in a policy negotation concerning a major federal policy change could be viewed as a criminal act.

Waxman is chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Sensenbrenner is the ranking Republican member of the panel.

Browner’s informal directive was previously reported by The New York Times. Sensebrenner’s letter is being made public tomorrow. A copy was made available to The Examiner by an official with knowledge of the controversy.

Sensenbrenner also wants a congressional investigation of why a global warming study by Alan Carlin, an EPA economist who is a career civil servant, was suppressed by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and other senior agency officials. The study warned of seriously damaging economic consequences for small businesses if the agency moved to regulate CO2 gases as illegal emissions under the Clean Air Act.

The CO2 gases, which are also produced by humans and other air-breathing creatures when they exhale, are viewed by global warming activists as contributing to the trapping of heat in the atmosphere when carbon-based fuels like oil and coal are burned. Carlin’s situation was previously detailed here by The Examiner.

When the study author requested that it be included in official EPA materials on the issue of whether the agency should adopt an “endangerment rule” to allow regulation of CO2, senior agency officials denied it. Al McGartland, director of EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics, told Carlin that his study was rejected because “your comments do not help the legal or policy case” for EPA’s decision to enact the endangerment rule.

In other words, according to Sensenbrenner, EPA officials purposely ignored the study simply because it did not advance their political policy agenda. Both President Obama and EPA’s Jackson have repeatedly promised not to make policy decisions on the basis of political or ideological considerations.

The full text of Sensenbrenner’s letter follows:
July 8, 2009

The Honorable Edward Markey
Chairman, House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Markey:

During her confirmation hearing, Administrator Jackson promised “overwhelming
transparency.” She said, “[a]s Administrator, I will ensure EPA’s efforts to address the
environmental rises of today are rooted in three fundamental values: Science-based policies and
programs, adherence to the rule of law, and overwhelming transparency.” Notwithstanding this
promise, EPA has conducted itself under an unprecedented veil of secrecy.

I initially raised these concerns in a letter to you and Congressman Towns dated June 9,
2009.1 In that letter I cited two incidents. First, Mary Nichols, the head of the California Air
Resources Board (CARB), revealed that the White House had held a series of secret meetings as
they were crafting the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Nichols
admitted that there was a deliberate “vow of silence” surrounding the negotiations with the
White House on vehicle fuel standards.2 According to Nichols, “[Carol] Browner [Assistant to
the President for Energy and Climate Change] quietly orchestrated private discussions from the
White House with auto industry officials.” Negotiators were instructed to “put nothing in
writing, ever.” Clearly, Browner’s actions were intended to leave little to no documentation of
the deliberations that lead to stringent new CAFE standards.

The second issue raised in the previous letter related to EPA’s proposed endangerment
finding. An official from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) warned EPA in an
interagency memo that “[m]aking a decision to regulate CO2 under the CAA for the first time is
likely to have serious economic consequences for regulated entities throughout the U.S.
economy, including small businesses and small communities.”3 According to Administration
sources, these warning were dismissed, in part, because they originated from “a Bush
Holdover.”4 In fact, the “holdover” was a career civil servant hired by the Clinton

1 Letter from the Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner and Darrel Issa to the Honorable Edolphus Towns and
Edward Markey (June 9, 2009).
2 Colin Sullivan, Vow of Silence Key to White House-California Fuel Economy Talks, New York Times,
May 20, 2009.
3 Ian Talley, OMB Memo: Serious Impact Likely from EPA CO2 Rules, Dow Jones Newswire, May 11,
2009, available at
4 Ian Talley, EPA Chief Says CO2 Finding May Not ‘Mean Regulation,’ Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2009.
I am again raising concerns regarding the transparency of EPA’s process in light of new
evidence of suppression at EPA. In a series of emails, dated March 12-17, 2009, the Director of
EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE) expressly refused to include
relevant scientific evidence in the official record because, in his view, the administration had
already reached its conclusion regarding the endangerment finding.
On March 16, a senior analyst with EPA wrote to his office director to request that his
comments be included in EPA’s record. The analyst wrote:

I believe my comments are valid, significant, and contain references to significant new
research since the cut-off for IPCC and CCSP inputs. They are significant because they
present information critical to the justification (or lack thereof) for the proposed
endangerment finding. They are valid because they explain much of the observational data
that have been collected which cannot be explained by the IPCC models.

In response, the director refused to forward the analyst’s comments, not because he questioned
their scientific merits, but because “[t]he administrator and administration has decided to move
forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this

The director then sent a follow-up email, forbidding the analyst from continuing his
work: “With the endangerment finding nearly final, you need to move on to other issues and
subjects. I don’t want you to spend any additional EPA time on climate change. No papers, no
research etc.”

As it did with the OMB memo, EPA attacked the analyst’s credibility. In response to
publication of the above emails, EPA spokeswoman Adora Andy reiterated EPA’s now empty
pledge of transparency and said, “[i]n this instance, certain opinions were expressed by an
individual who is not a scientist and was not part of the working group dealing with this issue.”6

In fact, the analyst is a 38-year EPA employee with a scientific background, but
regardless, EPA’s response ignores the ultimate problem. NCEE’s director did not dismiss the
analyst’s opinions because of his scientific background or because of the merits of his study, the
director expressly refused to forward his opinion because they did not support the conclusions
that EPA had already reached.

This past December, President Obama said, “[p]romoting science isn’t just about
providing resources—it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about ensuring that facts
and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It’s about listening to what
our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient—especially when it’s inconvenient.”

5 Email from Office Director of EPA’s NCEE to Senior Operations Research Analyst at NCEE (March 17,
6 Robin Bravender, House GOP Accuses Admin of Suppressing EPA Staff on ‘endangerment’ finding,’
E&ENews (June 25, 2009).

The email exchange documents a second instance in which EPA refused to consider
alternative internal opinions and delineates an agency culture set in a predetermined course. It
therefore raises substantial questions about what additional evidence may have been suppressed.
EPA has become an agency determined to silence inconvenient perspectives, but as
policymakers we must openly and honestly consider all reliable evidence.

I therefore respectfully request that we hold a hearing to investigate the lack of transparency at EPA. I am prepared to assist in any way necessary to help prepare for such a hearing.


F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.
Ranking Member
Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming

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