News breaking this morning that the office of the Vice President suppressed and forced the withholding of testimony from the
EPA CDC regarding the health threats presented by Global Warming.
That's right -- Republicans are willing to put American lives in peril in order to protect their pals in the energy industries.
Vice President Dick Cheney's office pushed for major deletions in congressional testimony on the public health consequences of climate change, fearing the presentation by a leading health official might make it harder to avoid regulating greenhouse gases, a former EPA officials maintains.
When six pages were cut from testimony on climate change and public health by the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last October, the White House insisted the changes were made because of reservations raised by White House advisers about the accuracy of the science.
But Jason K. Burnett, until last month the senior adviser on climate change to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson, says that Cheney's office was deeply involved in getting nearly half of the CDC's original draft testimony removed.
Your government, when run by Republicans, places your health low on the priority scale.
"The Council on Environmental Quality and the office of the vice president were seeking deletions to the CDC testimony (concerning) ... any discussions of the human health consequences of climate change," Burnett has told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Burnett, 31, a lifelong Democrat who resigned his post last month as associate deputy EPA administrator because of disagreements over the agency's response to climate change, describes deep political concerns at the White House, including in Cheney's office, about linking climate change directly to public health or damage to the environment.[...]
Scientists believe manmade pollution is warming the earth and if the process is not reversed it will cause significant climate changes that pose broad public health problems from increases in disease to more injuries from severe weather.
Senate and House committees have been trying for months to get e-mail exchanges and other documents to determine the extent of political influence on government scientists, but have been rebuffed.
The letter by Burnett for the first time suggests that Cheney's office was deeply involved in downplaying the impacts of climate change as related to public health and welfare, Senate investigators believe.
Cheney's office also objected last January over congressional testimony by Administrator Johnson that "greenhouse gas emissions harm the environment."
An official in Cheney's office "called to tell me that his office wanted the language changed" with references to climate change harming the environment deleted, Burnett said. Nevertheless, the phrase was left in Johnson's testimony.
Update: Senator Barbara Boxer held a press conference this afternoon on this subject:
The disclosure about Cheney's office heightens the tension between the Democratic Congress and the Bush administration on the nation's top environmental issue -- climate change. For months, Democrats in Congress have complained that the EPA has stymied efforts to deal with climate change, including by blocking California efforts to regulate motor-vehicle greenhouse gas emissions, and by withholding a finding that climate change poses a danger to public health and the environment. Now, the rhetoric is ratcheting up.
"We know that the administration's efforts have been about covering up the real dangers of global warming and hiding facts from the public," Sen. Boxer said at a press conference Tuesday. "This cover-up is being directed from the White House and the Office of the Vice President."
The allegations come as the EPA is in a standoff with the OMB over the publication of a document that could become the legal roadmap for regulating greenhouse-gas emissions in the U.S. The draft document, reviewed by Dow Jones Newswires, outlines how the government could regulate emissions from sources such as cars and trucks, power plants and refineries.
But OMB asked the EPA to delete sections of the document that say such emissions endanger public welfare, according to people familiar with the matter. It marks at least the second such time that the Bush administration has sought to keep such findings away from the public.
"I am asking EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to release every document related to the agency's finding that global warming poses a danger to the public," Sen. Boxer said.
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