Lisa Jackson was a witness at a hearing held by the Energy and Commerce Committee, to review the economic impact of the EPA’s limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
She faced a grilling from Republicans, some of whom questioned the science underpinning the EPA’s regulations.
“Anthropogenic warming is an issue that the scientists are still debating and you know it and I know it,” Freshman Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) said, according to Politico.
Jackson replied: “No, I do not agree with that, I absolutely do not agree with that. I am an engineer as well and I know [how to] look to scientific experts to make decisions like this.”
In her opening statement, Jackson attacked the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, a bill introduced last week that seeks to prevent the agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The bill was introduced by two top Republicans on the committee, Fred Upton of Michigan and Edward Whitfield of Kentucky.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va) has introduced a less aggressive bill that would delay EPA regulation of industrial carbon dioxide emissions by two years. Co-sponsors include Democratic senators Jim Webb of Virginia and Claire McCaskill of Missouri.
“Chairman Upton’s bill is part of an effort to delay, weaken or eliminate Clean Air Act protections of the American public,” Ms. Jackson said in her opening statement. “Chairman Upton’s bill would, in its own words, repeal the scientific finding regarding greenhouse gas emissions. Politicians overruling scientists on a scientific question — that would become part of this committee’s legacy.”
But Upton said that regulating carbon dioxide emissions would put American manufacturers at a disadvantage, the New York Times reported.
“Needless to say,” Mr. Upton said, “the Chinese government and other competitors have no intention of burdening and raising the cost of doing business for their manufacturers and energy producers the way E.P.A. plans to do here in America. Our goal should be to export goods, not jobs.”
The EPA introduced its regulations of GHG emissions during the last Congress, as it became increasingly clear that lawmakers would not be approving the creation of a cap-and-trade scheme.
The agency’s regulations followed on from a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, which obliged the EPA to determine whether carbon dioxide emissions endanger human health and welfare. Jackson said that not only the Obama administration, but also the Bush White House had found that GHG emissions do endanger humans.