Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Dissension at the EPA over Climate Change

Union leaders representing government employees write letters:

The letter alleges that Johnson subverted the work of EPA staff and damaged the agency's reputation for "sound science and policy." The EPA needs public respect and support in order to implement the nation's environmental laws, it said....

"I'm sensing there's built-up frustration among EPA employees," said one of the authors of the letter, Mark Coryell, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3907, which represents staff members at the EPA's National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory.

"Their best efforts to do right by the law and sound science have been subverted by actions taken by or not taken by Johnson, our administrator," Coryell said. "A lot of them are certainly hurt by the impact on their professional reputations."
The letter came in response to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson's decision to overrule his employees' recommendations to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Instead, the EPA's recent report on climate change delayed action on any new regulations and ignored the issue of likely health effects. Part of the problem is that Johnson is under pressure from the White House to suppress any inconvenient findings. However, Johnson himself appears to be part of the problem, too, as he continues to argue that the EPA has no authority to regulate greenhouse gases under current law – despite a Supreme Court ruling to the contrary.

The whole situation must be terribly demoralizing to the career employees at the EPA.