Environmental laws like the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Food Quality Protection Act improve America’s environment and protect public health. These landmark laws have helped provide Americans cleaner air, cleaner water, and safer food. While these environmental laws have been successful, a number of recent investigations for members of Congress by the Special Investigations Division have highlighted ongoing environmental problems.
Chairman Waxman wrote to EPA Administrator Johnson to request an update on the agency’s progress in implementing controls on greenhouse gas emissions.
In a letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, Chairman Waxman requests complete, unredacted copies of Administrator Johnson’s briefing slides regarding California’s petition for a Clean Air Act waiver to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.
Chairman Waxman and Ranking Member Davis requested information from Secretary Gates on how the Department of Defense will comply with a recently enacted provision of law barring the government from purchasing alternative fuels for vehicles and planes, such as fuels from a coal-to-liquids process or tar sands, if those fuels have higher greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels.
In letters to five federal agencies, Chairman Waxman and Ranking Member Davis request that the agencies prepare and submit five-year action plans for cleaning up the widespread uranium contamination in the Navajo Nation.
Following EPA’s failure to meet the Committee’s deadline for producing documents, Chairman Waxman requests that the agency agree to production deadlines and provide relevant EPA officials for interviews.
In a letter to EPA, Chairman Waxman requests that the agency preserve and produce all documents relating to Administrator Johnson’s decision to block California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles.
Chairman Henry A. Waxman released the following statement today in response to EPA’s denial of California’s waiver request:
“EPA’s decision ignores the law, science, and commonsense. This is a policy dictated by politics and ideology, not facts. The Committee will be investigating how and why this decision was made.”
The Oversight Committee approved a report that concludes that the Bush Administration has censored climate change scientists, edited climate change reports, and misled policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming.
Chairman Waxman requests documents from EPA relating to the Department of Transportation’s lobbying efforts against California’s efforts to address global warming.
Rep. Henry A. Waxman announced at a congressional hearing with EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson that he will introduce legislation that establishes a moratorium on the approval of new coal-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act until EPA finalizes regulations to address the greenhouse gas emissions from these sources. Under this legislation, a Clean Air Act permit for a new coal-fired power plant could not be issued unless the plant uses state-of-the-art technology to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The bill will also prohibit any person who builds a new coal-fired power plant without carbon controls from receiving allowances under future climate change legislation.
This hearing examined the implications of the Environmental Protection Agency’s refusal to consider the global warming effects of a coal-fired power plant’s greenhouse gas emissions in a recent permitting decision. The hearing provided an opportunity for EPA to explain its position and current plans for addressing greenhouse gas emissions. Regulators and experts testified about the effects of EPA’s decisions, as well as how EPA could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new stationary sources.
On Wednesday the committee will hold a hearing to examine the applicability of federal environmental and health requirements to onshore oil and gas development. The hearing will also address the potential impact oil and gas activity has on the environment and the health of populations living near production areas.
On Thursday, October 18, 2007, the Committee held a hearing to examine the climate change and other impacts of black carbon emissions. Black carbon is better known as soot and results from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass. The Committee received testimony about the significant global and regional effects of black carbon, its sources, and the positive effect reductions in emissions would have on both climate change and public health worldwide.
Today Chairman Waxman asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) about its role in combating the threat of global climate change in light of the Commission’s broad authority over many elements of the U.S. energy sector. In a letter to FERC Chairman Joseph T. Kelliher, Chairman Waxman requested details about FERC’s climate change policy and its efforts to support state and federal actions to promote renewable energy, enhance energy efficiency and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
Internal e-mails show that Transportation Secretary Mary Peters personally directed a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign approved by the White House to oppose EPA approval of California’s landmark standards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.
The Environmental Protection Agency has ignored the recent Supreme Court decision that CO2 is an air pollutant under the federal Clean Air Act and approved a permit for a new coal-fired power plant without regulating its CO2 emissions or considering the impact of the new power plant on global warming.
Chairman Waxman writes to Secretary Kempthorne to question the Department of Interior’s refusal to comply with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 requirement to study the effects of coal bed natural gas production on surface and ground water resources in six western states, and to insist that the Department comply with the law.
In a letter to Dr. John Bucher, Associate Director of the National Toxicology Program (NTP), Chairman Waxman raises concerns over an agency analysis of potential conflicts of interest in current NTP contracts. Noting that analysis relied on self-certifications by contractors, Chairman Waxman requests copies of the contractors’ full responses and the agency's plan for conducting an objective assessment of conflicts of interest that does not rely on self-certification.
Chairman Waxman requested documents from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) regarding the “health consultation” it provided to FEMA on formaldehyde levels in tested trailers. The ATSDR consultation ignored established safety recommendations for formaldehyde exposure and downplayed the health risks posed by the formaldehyde levels in the tested trailers. ATSDR recently changed course by acknowledging that the tested FEMA trailers had formaldehyde levels that can adversely affect human health.
On August 4, 2007, the House passed H.R.3221, the “New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act,” by a vote of 241-172. The legislation incorporates various legislative initiatives for energy independence and reducing global warming, including the Carbon-Neutral Government Act of 2007 (H.R. 2635).
Rep. Waxman introduced H.R. 3448, the “Global Climate and Ozone Layer Protection Act of 2007.” This consensus legislation, which is supported by both industry and environmentalists, will significantly reduce emissions of substances that deplete the ozone layer and contribute to global warming.
Chairman Waxman wrote to EPA Administrator Johnson to request documents concerning a proposed controversial change to regulations under the Clean Air Act which would weaken existing protections for many national parks and other areas with pristine air quality. Chairman Waxman also requested a 60 day extension of the public comment period, which is scheduled to end August 6, 2007.
Following a staff review of a number of previously-withheld climate change documents, Chairman Waxman and Ranking Member Davis now request that 56 of those White House documents be provided to the Committee to further its investigation into allegations of political interference with climate change science.
In response to Rep. Waxman’s request, the Department of Transportation provided limited documents and e-mails related to its lobbying of Members of Congress to oppose efforts by California and other states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. In the correspondence providing the documents, DOT states that it intends to withhold 53 responsive documents from the Committee.
Today, Rep. Henry A. Waxman released a letter he received yesterday afternoon from the Department of Energy regarding the cleanup of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) and the Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC). In the letter, the Department agreed to Rep. Waxman’s request to commit to complying with the court order and honor its commitment that a radiological survey be undertaken at the site.
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