07.24.08

Leahy Cancels Hearing After EPA Administrator Declines To Testify

The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee today canceled a hearing scheduled for July 30 at which the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was invited to present testimony about the EPA’s refusal to provide Congress with documents related to the public health risks associated with global warming. 

In a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy dated July 22, the EPA signaled that Johnson would decline the Committee’s invitation to appear.  Leahy and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) last week invited Johnson to appear before the Judiciary panel to testify about President Bush’s executive privilege claims over many documents related to the health risks connected to global warming.  Leahy and Boxer were joined by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who sits on both Senate Committees, at a press conference today on Capitol Hill.

Under Boxer’s leadership, EPW has been investigating why the EPA denied a request by California officials for a Clean Air Act waiver that would have allowed the state to enforce tougher emissions standards.

During his administration, President Bush has claimed executive privilege to avoid answering questions about a variety of issues, including warrantless wiretapping, the leak of a the name of an undercover CIA agent, and the improper firing of U.S. Attorneys at the Justice Department. The claims have stymied congressional oversight efforts.

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