EPA releases report identifying harmful effects of climate change on human health

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On July 17 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a major study by the US Climate Change Science Program synthesizing current scientific knowledge of climate change-induced threats to human health. The evidence synthesized in this report should be critical to an EPA “endangerment finding” for regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. However, EPA evidently did not rely on and did not cite the CCSP report in its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on CO2 issued last week. The administration held up today’s health effects report for 3 months, waited until after EPA’s ANPR was issued, then posted the report at about the same time that Vice President Gore was attracting media attention with a major speech on climate change policy.

GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT
Washington, DC

July 17, 2008

Contact: Rick Piltz, Climate Science Watch Director
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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Contact: Dylan Blaylock, Communications Director, Government Accountability Project
Phone: 202.408.0034 ext. 137, 202.236.3733 cell
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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EPA Quietly Releases Climate Change Health Effects Report

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a major study by the US Climate Change Science Program synthesizing current scientific knowledge of climate change-induced threats to human health. This information should be critical to the EPA’s previous “endangerment finding” for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. However, the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, the branch assigned rulemaking responsibility, evidently did not rely on and did not cite the CCSP report.

Stalled for release since spring (the final draft of the report was ready in April), the report released today is one of several that are transmitted to Congress and the President under a requirement of the Global Change Research Act. The report, Analyses of the Effects of Global Change on Human Health and Welfare and Human Systems, is an interagency effort led by EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

“There is an apparent disconnect between the Climate Change Science Program’s purported ‘decision support’ assessment of climate change and human health released today, on the one hand, and EPA’s greenhouse gas regulatory analysis, on the other,” said Rick Piltz, Director of Climate Science Watch, a program of the Government Accountability Project. “I believe the White House and EPA would prefer that the report released today not receive significant public and congressional attention.”

A draft version of the endangerment finding – “Draft Technical Support Document: Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act” [http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/anpr.html ] – assessing threats to public health and welfare of greenhouse gases was finally released by the EPA last week, after the finding was withheld from Congress and the public by the White House for seven months.

The EPA was required by law to prepare a public health and welfare endangerment finding for carbon dioxide after the Supreme Court in Massachusetts vs. EPA ruled last year that the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The purpose of the endangerment finding is to guide the EPA’s decision about whether and how to curtail greenhouse gas emissions through a variety of mechanisms available under the Clean Air Act.

Last week, EPA Administrator Steve Johnson essentially snubbed the Supreme Court, Congress, and the public by dismissing the Clean Air Act as a tool ill-suited for achieving greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and opened a comment period that will end after the November election.

“The EPA is trying to release today’s major findings on the public health threats associated with climate change with little effort to attract public attention – as they did with another recent assessment report on climate change impacts on federal lands,” Piltz said.

EPA whistleblower Jason Burnett recently identified Vice President Cheney as the culprit behind the heavy-handed censorship last year of CDC Director Julie Gerberding’s congressional testimony that was to describe a host of climate change-induced threats to public health. Stated Piltz, “An active ‘global warming disinformation campaign’ operates at the top levels of government, and has now progressed from attempts to deny the science to active meddling intended to dismiss, downplay, and disguise the harmful, negative impacts of climate change.”

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing next week to investigate the questionable activities behind the EPA’s actions. Committee Chair Barbara Boxer recently observed, “These two things – the CDC censorship and the stonewall on the endangerment finding – are obviously related.”

The report released by EPA today, Analyses of the Effects of Global Change on Human Health and Welfare and Human Systems, can be accessed at the following URL:

http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=197244

Government Accountability Project

The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.

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