Dick Cheney's Continuing Environmental Influence
The revelation by a former Environmental Protection Agency official that a member of Vice President Dick Cheney's staff altered the politically damaging testimony of an EPA colleague is only the latest evidence of Cheney's influence and power in shaping the nation's environmental policy.
Jason K. Burnett, a 31-year-old former EPA deputy associate administrator, said an official from Cheney's office edited out six pages from the testimony of Julie L. Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last October.
The Post reported at the time that Gerberding had planned to say that "CDC considers climate change a serious public health concern," among other passages.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said the administration feared that Gerberding's testimony would force it to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, The Post's Juliet Eilperin reports today. The White House has opposed mandatory limits, pushing for voluntary measures and increased research instead.
Burnett, a lifelong Democrat, Stanford-educated economist and member of the wealthy Packard family, has given given more than $120,000 to Democratic campaigns in recent years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Frank O'Donnell, who heads the advocacy group Clean Air Watch, told The Post that Burnett's revelations confirm that Cheney has been the one steering the nation's environmental policy during President Bush's tenure.
An in-depth Post investigation last year -- Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency -- revealed a man whose influence and power in the historically weak post was unparalleled.
Scores of interviews and government records showed that Cheney took on a decisive role as vice president to undercut long-standing environmental regulations for the benefit of business.
The Post's Jo Becker and Barton Gellman looked at how Cheney "made an indelible mark on the administration's approach" to everything from air and water quality to the preservation of national parks and forests.
Cheney's control over air pollution controls and the Clean Air Act is nothing new.
EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman famously warred with Cheney over a provision of the Clean Air Act, which allowed some of the nation's dirtiest plants to make major modifications without installing costly new pollution controls.
By Derek Kravitz |
July 8, 2008; 8:07 PM ET
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