Putting Politics before Science; It's Standard Procedure for Climate Czar Carol Browner

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 3, 2009 | Go to article overview

Putting Politics before Science; It's Standard Procedure for Climate Czar Carol Browner


Byline: David Mastio, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President Obama's climate czar Carol M. Browner doesn't have a problem with global-warming advocates who try to silence scientists who disagree or hide the data upon which government decisions are based.

Given the opportunity to say anything at all about the Climategate e-mails at a White House press conference, Mrs. Browner had nothing to say on the topic.

Having covered Mrs. Browner in her days as Environmental Protection Agency chief during the Clinton administration, it is easy to see why. That's exactly the kind of thing she did when she ran the show.

Among her last acts in office was to order the hard drive on her official computer at the EPA wiped clean, even though she knew there was a court order that computer files be preserved. Ms. Browner wasn't the only senior political appointee to wipe out data as they left the EPA, and eventually, the agency was found in contempt.

Such end-of-term shenanigans weren't an aberration. As I reported on Mrs. Browner's EPA for the Detroit News, I learned that hiding facts from the public was a fundamental part of science and regulatory enforcement at the environmental agency.

Early in the Clinton administration, Mrs. Browner raised the idea of using civil rights laws to bolster environmental enforcement in minority areas. Dubbed environmental justice and made into an agency priority, the EPA poured millions of dollars into the project.

In the course of the agency's work, the EPA identified six industrial sites across the country where agency officials believed a good case could be made that racist corporations were targeting minorities for excess pollution.

In each case, the EPA sent out a lawyer to investigate, and in each case, the lawyer came back with a report that said there was no reason for the EPA to prosecute. Mrs. Browner's minions shelved the reports and never even told the companies involved that the investigation was over.

Moreover, when members of Congress from the impacted areas wrote to the agency to inquire about the status of the investigations, they weren't told about the draft reviews, either. …

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