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EPA Asserts Executive Privilege In CA Emissions Case

Zonk posted more than 5 years ago | from the interesting-use-of-term-executive dept.

Government 390

Brad Eleven writes "The AP reports that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has invoked executive privilege to justify withholding information in its response to a lawsuit. The state of California is challenging the agency's decision to block their attempt to curb the emissions from new cars and trucks. In response, the EPA has delivered documents requested by the Freedom of Information Act for the discovery phase of the lawsuit — but the documents are heavily redacted. That is, the agency has revealed that it did spend many hours meeting to discuss the issue, but refuses to divulge the details or the outcomes of the meetings. Among the examples cited, 16 pages of a 43-page Powerpoint presentation are completely blank except for the page titles. An EPA spokesperson used language similar to other recent claims of executive privilege, citing 'the chilling effect that would occur if agency employees believed their frank and honest opinions and analysis expressed as part of assessing California's waiver request were to be disclosed in a broad setting.'"

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Pakistan model... (5, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#22119976)

Wouldn't it be easier for the Bush administration to disband the courts to protect the nation from eco-terrorists in California? After all, a true democracy doesn't allow the courts to interfere with the government.

Re:Pakistan model... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22120362)

bah, fox and friends are conducting their own little private war against ron paul. It's kinda funny because it's happening in front of millions across the globe.

sigh...

It's a shame what's being missed in the whole process is the election and not the primary's. Clinton and her PR war machine will be in full force. And, is fox news network democrats pretending to be republican and a tip of a spear for elements of lobby acting collectively in a protectionist manner?

My best estimate is McCain with a 10% chance of beating Hillary in 08 (with current rep policy).

Ron Paul (policy) can offset this, if conservatives step up a little for a bit of progressiveness. This denial shit is for the birds and they're only coming off as foolish.

Re:Pakistan model... (3, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120538)

How does anything anti-Bush get mod'ed as a troll? With all the lying, incompetence, turning the Justice Dept. into a stooge fest, exempting themselves from the law, wiretapping Americans, trampling on the Constitution, and plundering the nation's treasure who here still supports those asshats?

Re:Pakistan model... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22120648)

heh, family court, guilty until proven innocent, squirrelly evidence.

Didn't make too much of a difference to most, it's always been that way.

Re:Pakistan model... (5, Interesting)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120792)

How does anything anti-Bush get mod'ed as a troll? With all the lying, incompetence, turning the Justice Dept. into a stooge fest, exempting themselves from the law, wiretapping Americans, trampling on the Constitution, and plundering the nation's treasure who here still supports those asshats?

There is a mailing list, mostly populated by folk who post on Little Green Footballs. They told folk to register for Slashdot several years back. Whenever there is a political story they send out a begging letter asking anyone with mod points to mod down the most threatening posts.

They found out who I was and booted me off it a while back. I don't see why they would have stopped though.

If you think something has been modded down unfairly repost it. They have rather fewer mod points than they need to supress all the negative comments on the administration.

Oh, spare me. (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#22119988)

... the chilling effect that would occur if agency employees believed their frank and honest opinions and analysis expressed as part of assessing California's waiver request were to be disclosed in a broad setting.

You people work for us, We the People. Any analyses you perform should be a matter of public record. Get over yourselves.

Furthermore, what is with "executive privilege" being used as a cover for bureaucratic malfeasance? We aren't talking nuclear secrets here, but matters of public policy.

Re:Oh, spare me. (5, Insightful)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120102)

And why the hell is the Environmental Protection Agency trying to prevent states from protecting the environment? It's like we're living in 1984, where the Ministry of Peace wages war, the Ministry of Truth promotes propaganda, and the Ministry of Plenty produces shortages... nah. That comparison is probably going too far.

On the plus side, I hear Dick Cheney increased the chocolate ration to 20 grams.

Seriously, November 1 can't come soon enough. The way things are going we're looking for a showdown between Clinton and McCain. For a change, we may have a win-win choice this fall. Neither's perfect, but I think either will result in a return to sanity and pragmatism, and result in a massive improvement over the current administration.

Unvarnished: (4, Insightful)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120366)

EPA political appointee #1: "Ford is offering 0.5 billion in campaign contributions if we say no to California..."

EPA political appointee #2: "I'll check with GM to see it they'll raise their offer."

Re:Oh, spare me. (2, Interesting)

morbiuswilters (604447) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120444)

Are you honestly shocked that regulatory agencies fail to uphold the ideals they were founded upon? What do you think happens when you unconstitutionally consolidate power into the hands of a few politicians, lobbyists and bureaucrats? If you've had even a rudimentary education in world or U.S. history you lose the right to act surprised when this happens. Oh, what am I saying? I'm sure Clinton's Ministry of Health will vastly improve the health of the nation! Just as I'm sure McCain's Ministry of Bat-shit Foreign Policy Decisions Expressed Through Beach Boys Songs will finally bring about world peace!

Oh, and you really are naive if you think Cheney is going to part with the sweets.

Re:Oh, spare me. (0, Offtopic)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120814)

Holy shit. Some retard wasted a mod point marking your hilarity as "flamebait"! Shouldn't there be a literacy test for moderators?

Re:Oh, spare me. (0, Flamebait)

mc moss (1163007) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120446)

Oh Please, nothing is going to change. McCain will just keep the status quo and Clinton is just Bush 2.0 with a healthcare plan backed by her buddies in the pharm industry.

Re:Oh, spare me. (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120490)

I've become too cynical to believe that the people ever win anything in any election.

Someone said it very well recently: The economy is all about money, and politics is all about power. Nowhere does the good of the people figure in or matter.

Re:Oh, spare me. (4, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120588)

I was more looking forward to the 5th of November.

Although you probably won't remember it.

Re:Oh, spare me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22120760)

Seriously, November 1 can't come soon enough. The way things are going we're looking for a showdown between Clinton and McCain. For a change, we may have a win-win choice this fall. Neither's perfect, but I think either will result in a return to sanity and pragmatism, and result in a massive improvement over the current administration.
Uhh, if a Clinton is involved, what makes you think that?

Or have you missed that the current nasty politics, accusations of racism, lawsuits over politics, cries of disenfranchisement and vote fraud, and all the same divisiveness we've seen since, oh about 1992 or so, are happening in the Democratic primaries? And that while there may be serious policy differences between all the Republican candidates, there's no lawsuits or cries of vote fraud or any of the other personal nastiness we see on the Dem side?

And that Barack Obama has no history of nasty personal attacks?

Gee, what does that tell you?

I know. It tells you that, umm, a vast right wing conspiracy has caused all the divisiveness in US politics over the past 15 years. Yeah, that must be it.

:-P

Wrong, wrong, wrong... (3, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120762)

EPA work for their bribers^h^h^h^h^h^h^hlobbiests.

There is no such thing as a citizen. You are a consumer. It is your patriotic duty to consume.

Re:Oh, spare me. (1)

guamisc (1174125) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120780)

Clinton and McCain? I'd hardly call that a win-win. That would still be a lose-lose situation.

Re:Oh, spare me. (1, Insightful)

DJCacophony (832334) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120832)

The environment is a federal issue, not a state issue. States should not be able to arbitrarily set limitations on what their citizens can do.

Re:Oh, spare me. (3, Informative)

KORfan (524397) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120910)

The environment is a federal issue, not a state issue. States should not be able to arbitrarily set limitations on what their citizens can do.
I think you need to check that Tenth Amendment. If it's not listed in the Constitution, powers are "reserved to the States respectively".

Re:Oh, spare me. (5, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120246)

Stop voting for the guy who tells you what you want to hear instead of the guy who tells the truth, and then maybe we can start to reverse the decades of this kind of crap.

It'll never happen though.

Re:Oh, spare me. (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120372)

instead of the guy who tells the truth

Just out of curiosity, who is that guy? I'd really like to know, so I can vote for him (or her, and no Hillary is not the one.) All the candidates I see out there at the moment are liars and/or hypocrites, to one degree or another.

Obama? (2, Funny)

pipatron (966506) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120422)

As a European, I have the view that Obama is the most trustworthy of them at the moment, and he seems to be the most tech-friendly candidate of the ones that still have a chance to get elected. Do you have any pointers to scandals that can change my view?

Re:Oh, spare me. (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120460)

McCain and Obama seem to be better than the rest in that department. Too bad neither will win the primary.

Re:Oh, spare me. (2, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120854)

Who do you think will beat McCain for the republican nomination? McCain isn't fostering a lot of excitement this time around, but when push comes to shove, i think the Republicans will nominiate a known quantity who seems similar to former presidents, and that is mcCain. (It could certainly be worse. Back in 2000 I loved McCain. Now I think he's been brought to heel somewhat, but I guess he decided losing accomplishes nothing).

Re:Oh, spare me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22120698)

instead of the guy who tells the truth

Just out of curiosity, who is that guy? I'd really like to know, so I can vote for him (or her, and no Hillary is not the one.) All the candidates I see out there at the moment are liars and/or hypocrites, to one degree or another.


Ron Paul. He's the only guy who can truthfully say that his voting record matches his statements.

Re:Oh, spare me. (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120796)

Just out of curiosity, who is that guy?

As John McCain said a while back, it's "None of the Above" who would win this race.

Re:Oh, spare me. (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120808)

People don't want the complexities of truth, they want simple solutions and clear directions. Nor do they want to hear that there are problems the government can't solve, nor that certain things have a price tag attached nor that some things are a balance of different interests. As the bullshit race escalates, you just realize that all the candidates left have oversold themselves. Voters go with the candidates that most clearly promise to fix their issues, "careful" candidates that qualify their statements are probably much closer to the truth get none. It's not like they'll throw you out of office for not keeping your promises, you'll be the President and in a worst case you "only" get four years in the chair. If there's a general upturn in the world economy at the end of the period, you can pull it off for another four years. The parties don't mind, they know it's a game of keeping the skeletons in the closet until the other party is in charge and watch them fall on the opposing party so they can reclaim the precidency a few years later. In short, you can't expect honesty in a game that doesn't reward it, only the false pretenses to play the part.

Re:Oh, spare me. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120848)

"It'll never happen though."

A guy who tells the truth, or anyone voting for him?

Re:Oh, spare me. (1, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120248)

In this age of climate change hysteria, if you did research that ended up suggested otherwise would you like to have it out there with your name on it? i'd rather have frank and honest EPA employee's and not be able to read their findings then being able to read a bunch of 1/2 truths that they were forced to self censor to protect their jobs and reputations

Re:Oh, spare me. (4, Insightful)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120328)

In this age of climate change hysteria, if you did research that ended up suggested otherwise would you like to have it out there with your name on it?

If the research is solid, then yes, of course, why not? If fear over climate change is just 'hysteria', then the scientific process will over time eventually push the truth to the service, and what scientific researcher wouldn't want his/her name associated with pioneering good research that revealed the truth? You think scientists would rather lie and be buried anonymously than reveal a truth that puts them ahead of everyone else?

It will be effectively impossible for anyone to debunk the research if it is genuinely good, because that's how science works.

Re:Oh, spare me. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120632)

It will be effectively impossible for anyone to debunk the research if it is genuinely good, because that's how science works.
Wow, I wanna live in the same universe as you. Science is often debunked by people who know nothing about science. Look at the steam cell and cloning 'debate' in the US.

Re:Oh, spare me. (3, Insightful)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120990)

It will be effectively impossible for anyone to debunk the research if it is genuinely good, because that's how science works.
Wow, I wanna live in the same universe as you. Science is often debunked by people who know nothing about science. Look at the steam cell and cloning 'debate' in the US.
I don't think you know what "debunked" means. Stem cells and cloning haven't been "debunked", they've just been suppressed by the religious elements of the government.

Re:Oh, spare me. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22120642)

No, you'll be ostrasized by your peers, loose your funding and end up at some community college. Climate change is about money, not the environment. How do I know? It happened to my faculty adviser, and of all damned things, about the speed of evoution. Remember. Global warming is anthropogenic or your funding is gone.

Supergravity (0, Troll)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120742)

That was the same story with supergravity vs string theory... that is.. until the proponents of supergravity were vindicated when the 11th dimension was acknowledged, giving rise to M theory.

just because you're ostracized now wont mean you're ostracized forever, and when you are vindicated, your reaping is all the sweeter.

Re:Oh, spare me. (1)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120684)

But that's the mindset of scientists.

As I read it, there were only bureaucrats involved in this, i.e. people who know nothing but have an opinion about everything.

Re:Oh, spare me. (1)

MarginalWatcher (1055844) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120708)

No, no, you got it all wrong: the *media* decides what the truth is, not "science". Most media simply report what will generate the most ad revenue on a given day. Currently, this is the greenhouse effect hysteria (whether or it is in fact true).

Re:Oh, spare me. (2)

darkwhite (139802) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120488)

n this age of climate change hysteria...
It's not hysteria. It's undeniable based on current research that the sea levels are rising, that human greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to a change in climate, and that unless we start implementing the technology to counter that NOW, the consequences will be far more catastrophic than otherwise. If a bunch of people are being a little loud because of it, well, maybe that's because the leaders are not listening.

if you did research that ended up suggested otherwise would you like to have it out there with your name on it?
Yes, of course. That's what research is for. Notice how the previous statement is conditional on the research part? Guess what happens if the body of real data denying global warming starts to outweigh the data confirming global warming?

i'd rather have frank and honest EPA employee's and not be able to read their findings then being able to read a bunch of 1/2 truths that they were forced to self censor to protect their jobs and reputations
I don't see anyone requiring them to disclose the employees' names. So their reputations are not at stake, and your argument doesn't work.

Re:Oh, spare me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22120268)

I'm sure you feel the same over Judicial Watch's efforts to get Hillary! to release documents related to her 1993 attempt to socialize medical care in the US, right [judicialwatch.org] ?

The few that have been released include gems like this:

I can think of parallels in wartime, but I have trouble coming up with a precedent in our peacetime history for such broad and centralized control over a sector of the economy...Is the public really ready for this?... none of us knows whether we can make it work well or at all...
Or is that the kind of daylight you don't want your cockroaches subjected to?

Because if you're not railing against the continued effort on the Clinton's part to keep those documents secret, you're just a partisan hypocrite.

Re:Oh, spare me. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120332)

PLEASE don't get me started on Clinton ... either of them. The great tragedy of our times is that after eight years of a Clinton we got eight years of Bush, and now possibly another 4+ years of a Clinton.

However, what I'm concerned about is the increasing opaqueness of our government. This is just one more example, one more powerful group infected with the disease of unaccountability. "We don't have to tell you anything so why should we? What, you think we're some kind of public servants or something?"

There needs to be an attitude readjustment.

Re:Oh, spare me. (1)

faraway (174370) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120442)

Correction. 12 years of Bush, most people seem to forget that. aristocracy?

Re:Oh, spare me. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120532)

I didn't really have a problem with George Bush, Sr., so I didn't count him. I know a lot of the people that voted for Clinton instead of Bush Sr. later regretted that decision. I mean, yes both Bushes got us involved in a conflict with Iraq, but in the case of the first Gulf War it was in direct response to an overt act of aggression against a Middle Eastern ally. We also simply fulfilled our treaty obligations, packed up and left. Contrast that to the way the current War in Iraq has been handled. Consequently, I don't think it's fair to put the elder Bush in the same category of mental defective as his son.

Re:Oh, spare me. (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120336)

"Executive privilege" -- yeah, that's exactly what they're doing.

Executive privilege is designed to protect matters of national security. Not political blunders or malfeasance. We're talking about automobile emissions standards, not plans for building an F-117 for crying out loud.

And California has a direct need to have higher standards than the rest of the freakin' country. Have you been to Los Angeles? *cough* *cough* The smog is horrible. And most of it is due to the rather large number of automobiles that operate on the roads there. Traffic sucks bad -- the streets are in constant gridlock.

Re:Oh, spare me. (0, Redundant)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120390)

Have you been to Los Angeles?

Yes. Recently. And I wouldn't choose to live there.

You think LA is bad?? (4, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120626)

Head a little further east, into Riverside and Redlands. LA's exposure to the sea breeze drives their smog right into the inland empire, where it settles. LA may generate most of it, but the majority ends up settling in the valley. When we're lucky, we can see the mountains arund us at night. Usually it's just a haze and only the lights are visible.

California doesn't need higher standards. California needs to start banning all old and out of tune automobiles, period. There's so many junker antiques running around that it's absolutely insane. Also, they need cleaner factories. They might as well start their own EPA while they're at it, because the one we already have isn't doing a goddamned thing. How do we get a vote to pull all of the EPA's funding into Congress?

Re:Oh, spare me. (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120810)

"Traffic sucks bad -- the streets are in constant gridlock."

Think of how much less pollution there would be if this were attended to.

I live in San Diego, there have been a couple of places where new freeway
construction has happened. One near my house has the award ( in my opinion )
for total pollution and time wasting boneheadedness. There was already
an over/underpass. Rather than cloverleaf, to keep things moving, they put
up lights. More energy being wasting ( no, not a huge amount, but still ),
running the lights, and how much in the way of pollution being generated
by cars sitting waiting for the light to change.

Re:Oh, spare me. (2, Interesting)

tacocat (527354) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120560)

You are right. But we haven't a means to get this message out to anyone in politics such that they actually listen and act. I suppose we could start rampant impeachments or try to force the issue with the politicians. but they seem more involved with the micro-minority issues rather than just voters concerns.

Re:Oh, spare me. (5, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120622)

You people work for us, We the People. Any analyses you perform should be a matter of public record. Get over yourselves.

Why should they? If all you do is mutter on slashdot they've got nothing to worry about. Outside of the techie world how many people even know what a news discussion site is?

The problem about just saying you should have your rights under the constitution is that the people who got the opportunity to create it and then wrote it actually did fight, and many suffered and came over all dead. You don't compare well to them, except in the 'gathering to discuss their grievances' bit.

You need to do something about it aside from talk is the point I'm making.

I can't, I'm not American, but I would if I had to in my own country.

Re:Oh, spare me. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120710)

About the only thing I can do is write letters to Congresspeople. Which I do. And vote. Which I do. I contribute to political organizations that I believe are helping to improve matters. What else would you suggest I do?

We're a ways yet from taking up arms against our Federal Government and attempting to overthrow it in hopes that whatever replaces it will be better. If that happens, so be it, but people talking about the problems we face are the first step in trying to fix them, and people generally talk to people they think will understand what they're talking about.

The next step is to make more people aware of these issues. That's a tad bit more complicated.

Re:Oh, spare me. (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120816)

About the only thing I can do is write letters to Congresspeople. Which I do. And vote. Which I do. I contribute to political organizations that I believe are helping to improve matters. What else would you suggest I do?

What else? I have no idea, I'm not you. Then again, perhaps you've heard of Rosa Parks? Just one little lady all alone. She seemed to do ok. Not the same problem, but she certainly had an effect.

I'm certainly darn sure that writing letters that (most likely) only interns read isn't the way forward. If that sort of thing worked the current mess wouldn't be happening. Nor is taking up arms the answer, that'd just get you locked up these days. Personally I'd go for non violent and persistent protest in person. Its hard to demonise a person who refuses to fight back, but also refuses to give up.

Re:Oh, spare me. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120978)

Personally I'd go for non violent and persistent protest in person. Its hard to demonise a person who refuses to fight back, but also refuses to give up.

Rosa Parks is a bad example, because her case was something was relevant to everyone at the time, and everyone understood that (racism has long been a huge part of American culture, like it or not.) What she did polarized people, hit them where they lived, and was able to open more than few people's eyes. Not that she was even trying to do that ... little Rosa Parks had just suffered enough.

Secrecy on the part of the EPA is not going to get people riled up enough to effect any change. The problem is that, unlike Rosa Parks, we haven't suffered enough.

Re:Oh, spare me. (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120914)

Maybe you should think this through a little bit more. Have you ever tried to negotiate something important in public? For example, had a difficult discussion with your girlfriend in front of her or your friends? Debated with your child whether he could or could not do something in front of his friends? Talked with him about TV or computer rules in front of his teacher? Been divorced and tried to negotiate with your ex-spouse in open court? Tried to get you boss to understand something tricky -- embarassing to you, or him, or both -- in front of everyone at the annual company meeting?

It's hard, isn't it? Negotation and discussion under the bright lights of public scrutiny tends to be stagy, fake, and not very productive. Everyone is more interested in avoiding the least possibility of a mistake than in really understanding each other, or giving a frank opinion.

Now if that's true in your affairs, why would it not be in government affairs? We the public can certainly demand of our elected and appointed officials that they do everything out in the bright lights of the evening news. But you know what? We'll get preening, CYA-focussed, and completely ineffectual government.

Que? (5, Interesting)

ScouseMouse (690083) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120008)

Surely, the executive privilege thing is to protect state secrets, not to protect state officals? If Something someone says wouldn't hold up to scrutiny, they shouldn't be saying it for an official document?, particularly one that goes against what the local politicians have decided?

Re:Que? (1)

gotzero (1177159) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120070)

Agreed. If these people sound like idiots and are using bad logic, we have the right to know. Part of being an official in a public agency is that you are accountable for what is going on. It seems to be that holding stuff back this only makes it a bigger deal, and the media is rabid for the info by the time it is already uncovered.

What next (-1, Flamebait)

richardkelleher (1184251) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120034)

Are they going to start jumping up and down and screaming "9-11, 9-11, 9-11, terrorist plot." Or is it going to be, "You are not supporting the troops." Or, "That is Anti-American."

Then why not just redact the names? (5, Interesting)

jon787 (512497) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120046)

"citing 'the chilling effect that would occur if agency employees believed their frank and honest opinions and analysis expressed as part of assessing California's waiver request were to be disclosed in a broad setting."


So why not just redact the names and leave the statements intact? Oh yeah, that would actually make sense.

You know what to do now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22120074)

You can find all sorts of crazy For Official Use Only documents on Google for the Department of Defense giving budget information, and I even found a PDF for a PowerPoint for training new employees on their procedures on computers with classified materials. All computers with such information on them must be kept 2 inches apart from one another and away from all windows. If it's that easy to find DoD information, it should be easy to get good EPA uncensored info.

Right? Am I right?

Re:You know what to do now... (3, Funny)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120210)

All computers with such information on them must be kept 2 inches apart from one another and away from all windows.


And yet, they're all running Microsoft Windows, in direct violation of that policy.

What were on those 16 pages? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22120080)

I bet there were a some American Auto makers (well, they now mainly produce cars in Mexico, but that makes them still American, right?) And Oil Companies listed on those 16 pages.

Typical Bureaucrats (5, Interesting)

rossz (67331) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120082)

They hide information for the sake of hiding information. You're reducing pollution, asshole, not hunting down terrorists so there should NEVER be any reason to withhold any information from the public, let alone a court of law.

The law should be: By default all information is public. The government must PROVE there is an overriding security reason to keep something a secret. And not wanting to be embarrassed isn't good enough. Hiding information to save someone's political career is an argument FOR releasing the data.

Re:Typical Bureaucrats (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120190)

They hide information for the sake of hiding information.

I've always said that bureaucrats have a lot in common with squirrels.

Re:Typical Bureaucrats (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120776)

I've always said that bureaucrats have a lot in common with squirrels.
Except the squirrels have the very useful side effect of planting lots of trees.
Nothing useful grows out of secrecy.

Typical Corruption (1, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120576)

The information clampdown comes from the top and it's root is corruption. Government scientists are all to happy to publish their findings but have been threatened when those findings goes against administration and industrial goals. They are hiding evidence of collusion with big oil and auto makers. If you were free to look back at their records you would see step changes in their publications that accompany high level appointments. GWB claims he has already reduced emissions. That's true, but he backed off more stringent requirements and those requirements were justified by previous, slightly less corrupt administration.

The big picture is that auto makers are right back where they were in the early 70's, pushing big, dangerous and gas guzzling cars. Curb weights have finally matched or exceeded those of late 70's cars. Typical SUVs, like the Jeep Cheroce, get 16 MPG or worse.

Just as it was back then, we have an oil crisis. The automakers themselves are huge money losers but big oil is laughing all the way to the bank with year after year of "best year ever" profits. Despite year after year of best year ever production to match, the price of oil has caught up with it's late 70's inflation value and gasoline is headed for $5/gallon. Everyone driving those clunkers has the blood of US servicemen and innocent Iraqi citizens on their hands. As the price of energy goes up, the already faltering US economy looks ready to fall on it's ass.

The point of corruption is to make money at the expense of others. That money has been made and more will come as people default on their home loans. Pushed too far, all but the ultra rich will take a bath. We are dangerously close to that bath.

In future news.... (1, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120096)

In future news, every top-level administrator of the EPA will be fired in 2008, following the inauguration of the new president.

Seriously. For the EPA to do something this monumentally stupid, the entire agency deserves to be disbanded, considering that their actions have been completely and entirely contrary to their stated mission.

Re:In future news.... (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120790)

Actually, the president will be elected in 2008. Won't take office till 2009.

It's their job (4, Insightful)

DMCBOSTON (714393) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120122)

They are supposed to provide "frank and honest opinions". It's their job. That's why we pay them. If they are afraid to tell the truth, then something is seriously amiss, and we must suspect some meddling (possibly corporate) in the process.

Re:It's their job (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120288)

1. most people don't like the truth, even though their cry for it constantly

2. why must it always be the corporations with you people?

Re:It's their job (5, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120294)

If they are afraid to tell the truth, then something is seriously amiss


In Michigan we recently had an election where two candidates stood up and talked about how they were going to help the state's economy. One said he would train the workers to do economically sustainable jobs, and the other lied out his ass about how he was going to bring back jobs that our economy can't possibly support when competing with cheap labor from China. The liar won the election.

So yes. Things are seriously amiss. But make sure you point that finger in the right direction.

Waaaaa! (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120142)

Executive Privilege? EPA needs its bottle changed, they're scared of reality.

Let's see 'em, then. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120182)

So, does anyone have a link to the documents that were released? Or are they supposed to be kept secret until the trial?

'cause given the track record of the feds wrt. FOIA releases, the odds are small but decidedly non-zero that the information is still in there and they just have to turn on "track changes" or edit in full Acrobat or something.

Do something. (3, Insightful)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120184)

Sitting here and complaining about how all of this is BS isn't gonna change things. What can we actually do to make our collective disapproval known?

Re:Do something. (1)

BalanceOfJudgement (962905) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120292)

Sitting here and complaining about how all of this is BS isn't gonna change things. What can we actually do to make our collective disapproval known?
Behold the wonders of unelected officials endowed with power unchecked save for the one person who won't actually listen to anyone: The President.

Ahh..

Re:Do something. (1)

I Like Pudding (323363) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120802)

Make a billion dollars and *ahem* "lobby"

Re:Do something. (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120972)

Make a billion dollars
Time to buy more paper and toner. Do you want it in $20, $50, or $100 bills?

Sickening... (4, Interesting)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120218)

Ok, I'm a business owner and that makes it hard for me to be a Demo. Furthermore, I'm a California citizen and I'm generally opposed to "Moonbeam" Jerry Brown and his environmental soapbox posing. So you see, I'm not a screeming liberal by any means.

That said, this just really sucks. The Freedom of Information act was possibly the most effective means to hold the government accountable in my lifetime. Bush and company have no respect for it and think that they can arbitrarily ignore it. In the words of Emo Philips, "They need to be tought a lesson". Run their asses back to Texas along with all their followers, cronies and hacks. I'm greatly sick of all of this.

Can do no wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22120254)

"citing 'the chilling effect that would occur if agency employees believed their frank and honest opinions and analysis expressed as part of assessing California's waiver request were to be disclosed in a broad setting.'""

So in other words we live in a society were people needed to be coddled from anything negative directed towards them? What is the point of having opinions if you're not willing to defend them? What is the point of having principles if you're not willing to stand by them?

On what grounds? (1)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120264)

On what possible grounds is EPA claiming executive privilege? On the "cause we say so" grounds?

This is what happens when political appointees put The Party ahead of the country, btw.

Exxon Protection Agency (0, Flamebait)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120312)

The EPA has become the Exxon Protection Agency under our current executive leadership. Sadly the Democrats, once they are in power, will need years to reverse the damage.

Re:Exxon Protection Agency (0, Troll)

dada21 (163177) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120590)

You're kidding, right?

Most of the current EPA cronies were Clinton hires. The Democrats do as much damage in "Federalize Everything."

Disband the EPA, and let the States enact their own policies. It'll put to rest a lot of political cronyism.

Re:Exxon Protection Agency (5, Informative)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120690)

Not even close to the truth. Here's a quote from http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2001/0207.schaeffer.html [washingtonmonthly.com] "The Bush administration faced a dilemma: How do you mount a stealth attack on environmental protection without making the most obvious mistakes of the Reagan-Gorsuch era? The first step was to appoint as EPA administrator Christine Whitman, who provides a moderate face, but already had a reputation for gutting anti-pollution enforcement programs while she was governor of New Jersey. Another was to leave the enforcement program rudderless: 18 months into his term, Bush has not yet filled the top EPA enforcement job (his first nominee, Donald Schregardus, withdrew amid criticism of his record running Ohio's program). Leaving the job unfilled not only deprives the staff of leadership, but also robs the administration's critics of an actual person to blame for poor performance. Bush political appointees in the White House and EPA quickly took up the many other ways of thwarting enforcement without drawing attention. Here are a few of their tricks:" And it goes on and on and on. Bush eviscerated the EPA.

scientific recommendation v. political decision (1)

GSGKT (1140125) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120318)

I wonder if political appointees have overturned internal recommendations by the career EPA scientists/staff, hence none of these papers can be turn over to the Congress without someone lost their jobs prematurely. I thought there are already several examples during this administration.

CRIMINAL ACTS (0, Flamebait)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120354)

Isn't this the same argument BushCo uses over and over to keep from revealing what they are really up to?

There is no logical reason why California cannot get this information other than it is to cover BushCo butts.

Go ahead, Bush apologists, and mod me down but you know the truth - Bush and his corporate interests are selling you out, selling your country out, and selling your futures out.

Re:CRIMINAL ACTS (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120928)

The corporate interests were in power before Bush and will stay in power after him. The illusion that a new set of puppets will change things is childish.

Federalism is a good thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22120436)

Conservatives hate it when it comes to medical mj or assited suicide or pro-gay marriage. Liberals hate it when you are pro gun or anti-abortion or needing to enforce civil rights on uppity sounthern states.

But in the end, the founders had it right. All these experiments in green futures and healthcare and individual rights and social safety nets are far ahead of the lowest common denominator feds it isn't even funny. And programs being closer to the people they preport to serve probably makes them more accountable.

Welcome to the Republic! (3, Insightful)

BlackSabbath (118110) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120468)

In a pre-emptive reply to the inevitable comments claiming this is evidence of imperial hubris, or corporate-fascistic tendencies, I say poppycock. The US is and always will be a REPUBLIC. The only difference is the recent addition of the adjective BANANA.

Seriously, it's time for house cleaning (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120494)

And by house, I mean WHITE HOUSE. This crap has gone on WAY too long. People aren't just looking away because they can't. When there's a pile of shit in the corner, you tend to point your nose in another direction; look away. But when we have this situation; there's shit in every corner, there's no place to look away to! That's when it's time to clean up.

The AP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22120502)

The AP reports that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has invoked executive privilege to justify withholding information in its response to a lawsuit. The state of California is challenging the agency's decision to block their attempt to curb the emissions from new cars and trucks. In response, the EPA has delivered documents requested by the Freedom of Information Act for the discovery phase of the lawsuit -- but the documents are heavily redacted. That is, the agency has revealed that it did spend many hours meeting to discuss the issue, but refuses to divulge the details or the outcomes of the meetings. Among the examples cited, 16 pages of a 43-page Powerpoint presentation are completely blank except for the page titles. An EPA spokesperson used language similar to other recent claims of executive privilege, citing 'the chilling effect that would occur if agency employees believed their frank and honest opinions and analysis expressed as part of assessing California's waiver request were to be disclosed in OH MY GOD THERE'S SHIT COMING OUT OF MY EYES

1993 Hillary Healthcare Taskforce Documents (0, Offtopic)

Adam8g (1181859) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120520)

The National Archives admits there may be an additional 3,022,030 textual records, 2,884 pages of electronic records, 1,021 photographs, 3 videotapes and 3 audiotapes related to the Task Force that are being withheld indefinitely from the public.

http://www.judicialwatch.org/judicial-watch-releases-records-re-hillary-s-health-care-reform-plan-0 [judicialwatch.org]

Now there is openness......

Executive privilege doesn't exist (2, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120528)

It is a fiction created by the presidency so they can cover things up. I challenge *anyone* to find out where in the constitution this right is spelled out.

executive privilege promotes illegal activities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22120566)

Everytime I hear about executive privilege, all I can think of is that something illegal was going on. Much like invoking the 5th amendment.

So that means that someone can go kill someone else, and if they are in power and high up, they can invoke executive privilege and say "nope, can't hear about that!" Its a blank check. And I think that's just a bit too much leeway being offered, especially right now.

What, Big Brother is listening to everything on the Internet? Sorry, we can't tell you, we invoke executive privilege. Its also State Secrets. And its for your own good, anyways. THERE ARE TERRORISTS OUT THERE! We are just protecting you. You didn't need privacy anyways!

You know what? (1)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120630)

Chilling effect? You know what? I kinda want them to chill. You know...until there's a new administration...

Horseshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22120700)

Does anyone here know what information the EPA could possibly need to protect?

why? (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120714)

I'm interested in why they blocked it in the first place.

less emissions means more of the fuel is being used for propulsion instead of being expelled.

using gas more efficiently can only be good for national security given our dependance on foreign oil.

Liars and Thieves Hate The Light Of Inquiry (4, Insightful)

dprovine (140134) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120738)

As with previous examples, it's not that they fear a chilling effect on candid advice, it's that the advice they gave wasn't for the good of the country. They advised the EPA to do what was good for their industries, and that's bad press.

In an interview on the Newshour http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/media/jan-june01/schorr_5-29.html [pbs.org] in 2001, Daniel Schorr was asked what he'd learned about government after years of covering it, and he answered:

What I learned about that was, first of all, that power exercised in secret is frequently exercised in the stupid... most stupid possible way.

If people knew that their malfeasance was going to go public some day, and be exposed to the light, they would be less comfortable tell all the lies they tell in the dark.

Re:Liars and Thieves Hate The Light Of Inquiry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22120916)

Getting caught with the goods from an older time, is also sometimes true.

Believe it or not, life does and SHOULD exist outside of the courtroom and beyond your legislative halls. Using the justification, to provoke 'inclusion' in a government where it is already self evident, borders on slightly more then corrupt. Especially when it becomes policy.

At least these folk are not being raped by a big Spanish guy named Mom. ...and more then a few have died while in holding and never a charge laid. ...and let's not mention 'knowing yourself, your own passions and capacity'

Appalling (1)

oquigley (572410) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120746)

Honestly, this is the type of corruption and incompetence I've simply come to expect from this administration.
The counter examples, where they *do* act in the public interest are hard to come up with. Maybe somebody could list them, and prove me wrong.

O.

Chilling effects... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22120752)

I think they mean... the chilling effect it would have on dishonest people's careers.

chilling effect on the ATM (1)

nadaou (535365) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120782)

"citing 'the chilling effect that would occur if agency employees believed their frank and honest opinions and analysis expressed as part of assessing California's waiver request were to be disclosed in a broad setting.'"


The administration is here referring to the chilling effect in a literal sense. i.e. being the slowing of the greenhouse effect that could occur if the current regime was held to account. But they don't have it quite right- it would be a slowing of the heating rate, not an absolute drop in temperature.

What this action deserves (2, Interesting)

Geezer Al (1001321) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120788)

Impeach the current President and Vice President. It is the only solution.

Is this really in response to the lawsuit? (1)

verin (74429) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120888)

I read the article, and it referred to Boxer's quest for documents via the Freedom of Information Act, but this doesn't mention the California lawsuit, or the preserve-documents order that is related to it.

As near as I can tell, this is only related to Boxer's environmental committee request for information, and is not in response to the lawsuit. In fact, I think it may be a test to see if it might be a viable response to the lawsuit as well. If it works for the congressional request, they might try it out in the courts.

so what all this means (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120964)

is that it's only OK for the experts to give testimony if the ones in power agree with the experts?

citing 'the chilling effect that would occur if agency employees believed their frank and honest opinions and analysis expressed as part of assessing California's waiver request were to be disclosed in a broad setting.'"

Sounds like the good 'ol "you can't handle the truth" argument.

Take Action / Demand State Rights / Use Spin! (1)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 5 years ago | (#22120984)

Vote with your wallets, etc etc... I've been having fun writing my congressman any all sorts of issues that bug me. The trick is to talk to them how they want to hear it. I'm in a republican dominated state, Idaho. So obviously I need to point out this another instance of the federal government usurping power from the states in a thoughtless and wreckless manner. There are many angles to every issue now matter how liberal theres always a way to put some, eh... spin? on it so that those least likely to listen just might pay some attention.
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