Usually the Bush administration is criticized for abuses of executive power. This time the media and Democrats in Congress are after the administration for not using its authority enough.
A report on the March 13 “CBS Evening News” about Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson’s appearance before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming was very critical of the agency for not doing more “on limiting carbon dioxide, the most threatening greenhouse gas.”
This is the committee House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) created to answer a spat with Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) in 2007. As the Associated Press reported then, “Under the agreement, the new committee – to be chaired by Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) – will hold hearings and recommend legislation but will have no authority to approve legislation. It also will expire at the end of this Congress.”
Following the hearing, CBS’s Wyatt Andrews accused the EPA’s Johnson of refusing government orders.
“Congressional Democrats took the gloves off against the EPA today, accusing the agency’s chief, Stephen Johnson, of stalling all regulation on global warming,” Andrews said. “Johnson knew this reckoning was coming. Despite his own promise to issue new regulations last year, despite a Supreme Court order 11 months ago for the EPA to act on greenhouse gases, and despite the president’s own order last May.”
Andrews mischaracterized the April 2007 Supreme Court decision. According to an editorial in the March 14 Wall Street Journal, the Supreme Court did not “order” the EPA to act on greenhouses gases. It only granted the authority.
“The Supreme Court did not require the EPA to change its position on CO2, only to justify it within the scope of the Clean Air Act,” the Journal said. “In fact, the Court said the agency could defer a judgment because the science is complex and still evolving. But Mr. Johnson’s waiver decision welds shut that escape hatch – and he's still getting pounded by Democrats.”
The CBS report also included incendiary remarks from one congressman in the hearing who is a proponent of regulating greenhouses gases.
“You’re the fireman and the planet’s on fire right now and you don't pick up a hose?” Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) said. “You do nothing. Your administration has done nothing about this.”
The media have long sided with environmentalists in the climate change debate. The Business & Media Institute's most recent special report, “Global Warming Censored,” showed that in the last six months of 2007, the media favored global warming alarmists over skeptics 13-to-1.
Only 11 percent of the stories in that study mentioned costs related to proposals that would address global warming, including creation and enforcement of emission regulations.