EPA Releases Bush-Suppressed Endangerment Finding

October 21, 2009

FOIA works — just not always fast. EPA October 13, 2009, released a long-suppressed 2007 EPA "endangerment finding" that had been suppressed by the Bush White House Office of Management and Budget.

It came to light for one reason only: Greenwire reporter Darren Samuelsohn had filed a Freedom of Information Act request for it — and followed up doggedly for months and months.

The finding — that emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide endangered the environment — was significant because it would trigger regulation of CO2 under the Clean Air Act.

This was why the Bush White House did not want it to see the light of day. In fact they refused to read it when EPA sent it to them — sending it back unread.

Samuelsohn, who writes for E&E News, publishers of Greenwire and ClimateWire, had filed his first FOIA request back in July 2008 … and re-filed it at the start of the Obama administration.

EPA's letter granting the request and the document itself are here.

After Bush OMB editing, a redacted version of the finding had been released in July 2008. Samuelsohn had requested the unedited version sent to the White House. EPA had denied the request in the last days of the Bush administration. The Obama administration eventually issued its own endangerment finding — publicly.