Accused of more than just bad decision making, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson has been accused of backroom politics and ignoring expert advice on the most important environmental issue of our time, global warming, and one of our nation's foundational environmental laws, the Clean Air Act.
After internal memos revealed that staffers had gone so far as to suggest Johnson step down if he denied California's request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles (he did not, after he did), he was grilled by Senators, including those from the 13 states that would have followed California's lead had the EPA granted them the legal authority.
Johnson was a career Environmental Protection Agency person handed the job of chief in what was seen as an attempt to quiet criticism that the agency's decisions were being made at the White House for purely political reasons. He rode in with the respect of his colleagues, and of Congress. He's burned that credibility.
Johnson argued that federal energy legislation that increase fuel economy standards was a more fair and effective national strategy for curtailing emissions from cars. California's standards would have gone farther, faster, according to several analysis. But it's a matter of degree.
Yes, a matter of degrees. That is what global warming is about, after all. And, as we've seen vividly on display in the likes of melting Arctic sea ice, retreating glaciers and raging wildfires, every degree counts.
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