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Can the EPA Rely on UN Science?

Can the Environmental Protection Agency really base an endangerment finding on the discredited IPCC reports?

by
Jeffrey Bossert Clark

Bio

April 28, 2010 - 12:03 am
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That position reflects a profound misunderstanding of our Constitution and its structure. The EPA administrator reports to the president. And the president’s involvement in decisionmaking is what gives decisions made by executive branch officials legitimacy, for only the president is elected by the American people. The United States is not a technocracy, let alone a UN-ocracy.  It is a republic — but only for as long as we can keep it.

Yet, take these environmentalists at their pre-Obama administration word. If EPA’s actions under the laws must be ruled by the personal judgment of the EPA administrator, how can EPA now rely so heavily on UN-sponsored science performed outside of its control? Don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer.

Going further, it is difficult to imagine that President Obama was not involved in specifically directing that the endangerment rule be issued, and be released on December 7 on the nose. The rule’s release occurred only shortly before he departed to accept his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. And even more coincidentally, the rule was issued on the opening day of the UN’s Copenhagen conference on climate change, which President Obama went on to address. Major policy announcements are carefully coordinated at the White House. They are not the result of serendipity.

Speaking from Copenhagen herself, Administrator Jackson told reporters: “Certainly, I’m glad we were able to complete the finding and make that statement just before [Copenhagen]. We barely got it. But that wasn’t our impetus.” With all due respect to Administrator Jackson, it’s hard to accept that statement uncritically, if only because ordinary English speakers might naturally say: “I barely got my car inspected before the state registration sticker expired.” (Rushing to complete a deadline implies a causal connection.)  They don’t ordinarily utter non sequiturs like:  “I barely brushed my teeth before my car’s state registration sticker expired.”

UN processes must be watched carefully for erosions of U.S. sovereignty. Even more vigilance is required as to the endangerment rule — because, like much federal agency action, it moves beneath the radar screen of ordinary Americans.  Though with the press attention to Climategate, that is rapidly changing.

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Jeffrey Bossert Clark is a Washington lawyer and former official in the Bush administration’s Justice Department.
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