Chairman Announces Roster for Legislative Hearings Next Week, Including EPA Administrator and Other Cabinet Officials
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson announced today that her agency has concluded that global warming emissions pose a threat to public health and welfare. The proposed finding, issued in response to the landmark 2007 Supreme Court case Massachusetts v. EPA, now puts the focus on the congressional process to create a clean energy solution to global warming. To that end, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee announced a hearing schedule for next week.
"Today, the EPA concluded that our health and our planet are in danger. Now it is time for Congress to create a clean energy cure," said Rep. Markey. "Taking action on clean energy and global warming has a national security imperative, an economic imperative to create jobs, and now a clear legal and public health imperative."
While today's actions mean that EPA can now proceed to develop rules to limit global warming emissions, President Barack Obama and his top climate and energy adviser, Carol Browner, have both stated that Congressional action would be preferable to create a comprehensive energy and global warming package. Chairmen Markey and Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) released their draft legislative proposal two weeks ago, with the aim of reporting comprehensive legislation out of the committee in the coming weeks.
In anticipation of passing comprehensive clean energy legislation, Chairman Markey today announced the hearings schedule for next week along with Chairman Waxman. The hearings will begin on Wednesday with Administrator Jackson, joined by the Secretary of the Department of Energy, Stephen Chu, and Ray LaHood, Secretary of the Department of Transportation. There will be nine panels in total, including nearly 80 witnesses.
The EPA also issued a second finding today, saying that heat-trapping emissions from motor vehicles cause or contribute to the global warming danger. They cited the science on global warming as "compelling and overwhelming." Today's finding is in proposed form, and will be open for 60 days of comment and public hearings.
Under the Bush administration, an endangerment similar finding was nearly issued, but was found to have been blocked. An investigative report issued in the Summer of 2008 by Chairman Markey and his Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming found that members of government at the highest levels, including the office of President George W. Bush's Chief of Staff and numerous heads of Cabinet departments, had decided to issue an endangerment finding, but reversed their decision in the face of strong opposition from ExxonMobil and others within the oil industry, as well as from at least one senior adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.
More information on that investigation can be found here.