Dear Inspector General Tinsley:
I write today regarding the press accounts that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House omitted important climate change language from the Agency's draft "State of the Environment" report. I respectfully request that you conduct an investigation into the EPA's decision to exclude this language from the report.
Based on news reports, it is my understanding that the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Management and Budget made the decision to delete from the report science-based conclusions about human contributions to global warming that have been confirmed by the National Research Council, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and federal researchers. In addition, it has been reported that the removed language was then replaced with text from a study partially funded by the American Petroleum Institute.
These actions, if true, call into question the ability and willingness of the Administration to provide impartial, science-based public information. We must take every action to ensure that such reports from the EPA - or any public agency - are without bias. Indeed, the Administration claims the report is "based on the best available scientific information and measures of environmental and human health."
Important federal decisions, ranging from the legislative to the regulatory to funding policy, are made based in part on such reports. In addition, states, corporations and many others rely on such reports for what they expect to be unbiased scientific information. Several states have moved to reduce carbon emissions in part out of concern over the broad scientific consensus that greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to global warming. It was that consensus that provided the momentum for states like Massachusetts, California and others to act to limit greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles and power plants. It was that consensus that served as part of the foundation for my work with Senator McCain to improve fuel economy standards. And it appears that the Administration may be working to distort the public understanding of that scientific consensus.
For these reasons, I am requesting that you investigate this matter to determine exactly what happened, how it happened and who caused it to happen.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this request.
John F. Kerry