As Democrats in the House were working to ram through their "Cap-and-Tax" legislation before the Fourth of July Congressional Recess, all in the name of saving the environment, behind the scenes – at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – they were busy covering up a study on climate change because the conclusions contradicted the findings they wanted to reach.
It frustrates me that the EPA let politics trump research. The repression of this important study casts doubts on EPA’s finding, and frankly, on other analysis EPA has conducted on climate issues.
President Barack Obama promised an "unprecedented" level of transparency and accountability, yet, the EPA went out of its way to withhold new data to justify a political conclusion. As taxpayers will be paying higher taxes if the "Cap-and-Tax" legislation becomes law, they deserve to know all the facts, not have information filtered or censored because it’s in the administration’s best interest.
On June 8th, I joined with several other members of Congress in asking the EPA to extend the comment period for its so-called “endangerment finding” for greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. By determining that greenhouse gas emissions pose a danger, the EPA granted itself the authority to regulate these emissions through the Clean Air Act.
In a letter to the EPA, we wrote that "EPA’s Endangerment Finding is one of the most significant regulatory findings in the country’s history. It would give EPA unprecedented authority to regulate every aspect of American life. It is truly alarming that EPA apparently prejudged this outcome and then moved forward on an incomplete record."
Additionally, after the July Fourth Recess, I asked for an investigation into the lack of transparency at the EPA, as the report on the "endangerment finding" was not the only recent incident where it appears as though the Administration tried to quash critical reports and information.
In a different case, the head of the California Air Resources Board revealed that the White House held a series of secret meetings on crafting new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and that Carol Browner, assistant to the president for Energy and Climate Change, quietly orchestrated the discussions and instructed participants to "put nothing in writing."
As policymakers, we must be open and honest, and be able to consider all reliable evidence, so that we can make educated decisions. We cannot and should not be silencing alternative perspectives – even when it’s inconvenient. I hope we are able to further investigate this matter and that the EPA begins to live up to their promise of being transparent.
U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R- Menomonee Falls) represents Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District.