EPA E-Mail Concluded Global Warming Endangers Public Health, Senator Says

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 25, 2008

Under a subpoena threat from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the Environmental Protection Agency late Wednesday sent the panel a copy of its Dec. 5 proposal to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act -- as a brief loan.

Three Senate Democrats -- Boxer, Benjamin L. Cardin (Md.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) -- huddled together with their aides to review the documents, which were e-mailed to the White House Office of Management and Budget last year in response to a 2007 Supreme Court decision on the matter. The senators had to return the document after reading it.

The White House never opened the document and instructed EPA to retract it. Instead, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson backed away from the conclusions that he and his staff had reached and last week issued an "advanced notice of proposed rulemaking" that invited public comment on the question of whether to regulate emissions linked to global warming. It took no stand on the question the court had asked it to address: whether global warming poses a threat to human health or public welfare.

Boxer and her aides were allowed to take "reasonable notes" on the original proposal, which had concluded that greenhouse gases endanger public welfare. Among the points in the e-mail:

· "The Administrator believes that there is compelling and robust evidence that observed climate change can be attributed to the heating effect caused by global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

· "Based on the evidence before him, the Administrator believes it is reasonable to conclude current and future emissions of greenhouse gases will contribute to future climate change.

· "The Administrator is aware that the range of potential impacts that can result from climate change spans many elements of the global environment, and that all regions of the U.S. will be affected in some way.

· "The U.S. has a long and populous coastline. Sea level rise will continue, and exacerbate storm surge flooding and shoreline erosion.

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