EPA report on emissions still not released

07/03/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Earlier this week, reporters for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal wrote about an "intense private battle" that had broken out between the Bush White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the publication of a document that could become the legal roadmap for the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

The story reported that OMB had asked the EPA to delete sections of the document that say such emissions endanger public welfare, say how those gases could be regulated, and show an analysis of the cost of regulating greenhouse gases in the U.S. and other countries.

The liberal blog ThinkProgress.Org has the first 150 pages of the EPA document accessible on its website. The document says that technology is "readily available" to achieve signficant reductions in light-duty vehicle emissions between now and the year 2020 – that the benefits of these new standards far outweigh the costs, and that assuming that gas prices stay in the range of $3.50 a gallon, the net benefit savings to society could be in excess of $2 trillion. Of course, with higher gas prices, the benefits of high carbon-dioxide standards would be even greater.

EPA administrator Stephen Johnson told Congress in May that he would issue this rulemaking draft by the end of spring. Yet as Independence Day beckons, the document remains blocked.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that two people familiar with the matter said that although EPA administrator Johnson originally supported the White House cuts from the draft document, he felt that the edits had become "too aggressive."

Holly Binns, field director for Environment Florida, says that admission by Johnson – hardly an environmental advocate by any stretch – is significant.

As the work week ends today, the EPA has not released the emissions report.

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