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Washington Watch

EPA Chief: Bush Climate Policy Is Working!

Gee, Like the Katrina Rebuilding Effort Is Working, Like Alec Baldwin's Anger Management Therapy Is Working, Like Al Gore's Diet Is Working...

Wait! This Just In: Supreme Court Says EPA Must Consider Global Warming and EPA Chief Says that He's Thinking About It

...Like The Hunt for Bin Laden Is Working, Like...

On Monday, EPA Chief Stephen L. Johnson announced that total US greenhouse gas emissions for 2005 only increased 0.8 percent from 2004. He went on to note that, "the Bush administration's unparalleled financial, international and domestic commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions is delivering real results."

As we all know, its unlikely that a person who sets his own goals will set them too high. (That's why few people get to set their own goals). Environmentalists apparently believe that Johnson could be more ambitious: "Things have come to a pretty sad state of affairs when the EPA tries to spin increased greenhouse gas emissions as a victory," said Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, an environmental advocacy group.

Even the Department of Energy thought the EPA might set their goals a bit higher, noting in a separate report that, "The slow growth in emissions from 2004 to 2005 can be attributed mainly to higher energy prices that suppressed demand, low or negative growth in several energy-intensive industries, and weather-related disruptions."

Things got even worse the next day, when Johnson testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The Senators asked the EPA Chief repeatedly when he would respond to a Supreme Court ruling that obliges the EPA to determine whether vehicle emissions were harmful to humans. If so, the agency would then be required to regulate the gases under the federal Clean Air Act.

Proving that auto emissions are harmful is no easy task, however. Sure, one could look at decades of scientific research to see the long-term and short-term effects of emissions exposure. One could look at "science" and "facts" and quickly jump to a conclusion. That, however, would be taking the easy way out. That's not Stephen L. Johnson's style.

Johnson repeatedly stated that the issues were complex and he needed time to make thoughtful decisions. "We will move expeditiously, but we are going to be moving responsibly," he said.

We think Johnson said that he had set a goal to resolve the issues no later than January 19, 2009. If we heard correctly, one more goal will be successfully accomplished and one more self-congratulatory press release issued as he packs up his office.

Thanks, Administrator Johnson. One less thing to worry about. Well, one less thing to wonder about, anyway.