EPA Teases Congress on Air Waiver Information: Interrogation Next

January 16, 2008

EPA still has not complied with requests from two Congressional investigating committees for documents on its decision to deny California and some 16 other states waivers allowing them to regulate tailpipe greenhouse emissions.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) said he plans to question EPA officials on the subject. Congress has the power to subpoena agency witnesses and to compel them to testify under oath, with perjury penalties for untruthful testimony.

EPA officials, if press reports are accurate, may testify that EPA administrator Steve Johnson ignored and overrode the advice of agency scientists and staff to make the decision, which complies with President Bush's stated refusal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The Associated Press reported that "EPA has missed deadlines set by Waxman and Sen. Barbara Boxer to turn over documents supporting the waiver denial. EPA says it is still working to collect the documents. Waxman asked EPA to establish by Wednesday [Jan. 16, 2008] mutually agreeable deadlines to produce the records."

The AP reports that Waxman also wants EPA to agree to a schedule for transcribed interviews or depositions by today, Jan. 16.

On Jan. 24, Johnson will face Senate Environment Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to explain his decision.