Unopened Emails And Lost Evidence

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In December, the EPA delivered disturbing findings via email to the White House, concluding that greenhouse gases are indeed dangerous pollutants that warrant regulation, lest climate change run amok to play havoc with our weather and economy. The report was in response to a 2007 Supreme Court order demanding the agency determine whether greenhouse gases present dangers to the economy or human health.

But the Bush administration devised an approach to dealing with the information that was so novel, so simple in its genius that you'll want to copy it: They simply refused to open the email.

Wow. That's even better than saying the dog ate your homework.

According to the New York Times, the administration's refusal to even read the official document denied it official status, instead stranding it in a bureaucratic no man's land where it couldn't enter the official record. This week, the EPA will respond to the snub by releasing a milder version of the document, this time by reviewing the relevant issues but refusing to state any specific conclusions.

Senior EPA officials have come forward to the Times, saying they we're pressured to cut items from their report that the government deemed adverse to their interests.

Both documents, as prepared by the E.P.A., “showed that the Clean Air Act can work for certain sectors of the economy, to reduce greenhouse gases,” one of the senior E.P.A. officials said. “That’s not what the administration wants to show. They want to show that the Clean Air Act can’t work.”

The administration has reluctantly turned its head around to acknowledge the existence of climate change, but the email provides more evidence showing they don't plan to do anything about it. It appears as if they'll just ride out the climate change problem into the sunset of their administration, leaving the next presidency wholly responsible for managing the problem.

Only six more months of doing nothing to go, guys — hang in there!

— Ted Alvarez

White House Refused to Open Pollutants Email (NY Times)

Via the Goat