Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, along with 18 Senate Democrats, sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt asking for more information on the agency's decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan. The proposal, released by the agency earlier this month, relies heavily on skewed scientific and mathematical data in order to justify repealing the Clean Power Plan.
Administrator Pruitt's repeated attempts to undermine science led Bennet to introduce the Pollution Transparency Act, a bicameral bill that would standardize the metric used by federal agencies to measure the cost of climate pollution. This would effectively prevent the Trump administration from ignoring science and economics when valuing the costs of climate change in rulemakings, including the Clean Power Plan and the Bureau of Land Management's methane standards.
"Our review of the 2017 Repeal proposal reveals significant deficiencies associated with the cost-benefit analysis used to support the 2015 Rule's repeal," the senators wrote in the letter. "At seemingly every turn, the 2017 Repeal proposal uses mathematical sleights of hand to over-state the costs of industry compliance with the 2015 Rule and under-state the benefits that will be lost if the 2017 Repeal is finalized. Denying the science and fabricating the math may satisfy the agency's paperwork requirements, but doing so will not satisfy the requirements of the law, nor will it slow the increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, the inexorable rise in sea levels, or the other dire effects of global warming that our planet is already experiencing. It will also not improve our standing in the international community or bring certainty to power markets as states plan for their future energy needs."
"Your rejection of the scientific consensus that greenhouse gas pollution causes global warming is well-known," the senators continued. "Additionally, we continue to await your response to the April 7, 2017 letter requesting more details about your views related to the cause of global warming and the agency's plan to repeal and replace the 2015 Clean Power Plan Rule. Our review of the 2017 Repeal proposal only heightens our concerns."
This is not the first time the EPA, under Pruitt's leadership, has attempted to skew the facts to achieve a desired outcome. In April, reports showed that the analysis of EPA career staff regarding pending legislation was eliminated entirely from the official comments that the agency ultimately submitted to the Congressional Budget Office. Just last month, reports in The New York Times revealed that political appointees at EPA directed career scientists to delete the Clean Water Rule's $500 million in economic benefits from a regulatory package that the agency submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review. EPA has not responded to Senate inquiries on either of these reports.
The senators requested all documents, including but not limited to emails, memos, meeting notes, and correspondence, sent or received by EPA that are related to EPA's cost-benefit analysis for its 2017 Repeal of the Clean Power Plan no later than December 1, 2017.
Bennet has spoken out in the past against Pruitt's proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, believing it would threaten the economy and clean air standards.
A copy of the letter is available HERE.