rides with Rebecca Black.. in the back
- Jun 18, 2004
- Orange California
Looks like not taking government money is working out well, and Mullaly's plan may be working.US auto sales declines show signs of leveling off
Ford US sales fall 10.7 pct in June, while GM drops 33.4 and Chrysler tumbles 42 pct
* By Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer
* On Wednesday July 1, 2009, 3:25 pm EDT
DETROIT (AP) -- U.S. sales at Ford and Chrysler last month offered sharply different views on the downtrodden U.S. market for cars and trucks, while General Motors Corp. held its own even though it entered bankruptcy protection.
Ford's June sales showed signs of stabilization, as the healthiest Detroit automaker posted its smallest sales decline of the year at 10.7 percent. It also said it gained market share. But Chrysler Group LLC, just weeks after exiting bankruptcy protection, reported a 42 percent drop in sales, hurt by a big cut in fleet sales and declines in all its models except the Dodge Challenger muscle car.
GM reported a 33.4 percent sales drop, slightly larger than the 30 percent drop it reported for May before it entered bankruptcy protection. GM plans to sell or close Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab to focus on four core brands -- Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick.
June sales from other automakers indicated that the industry downturn has begun leveling off. Toyota's U.S. sales fell 32 percent in June to 131,654 units -- a smaller decline than in previous months for the Japanese automaker.
Economists say there are signs that the economy is recovering, with housing starts rising more than expected in May and wholesale prices remaining in check. But the Conference Board reported Wednesday that consumer confidence fell unexpectedly in June.
"We're making steady progress," Jim Farley, the company's group vice president of marketing, said in a statement. "We remain grounded, however, given challenging industry and economic conditions."
Analysts predict that June sales, adjusted for seasonal variances and multiplied to determine an annual rate, will top the 10 million mark for the first time this year. During several months earlier in 2009, U.S. car and truck sales dropped to a rate of about 9 million vehicles, a huge reduction from more than 16 million as recently as 2007.
But any jump in the annual rate could be fueled by fire-sale prices at 789 Chrysler dealers that were fired by the company during the bankruptcy process and told to get rid of their inventory by June 9. Also, with GM dropping its Pontiac brand, incentives will rise on those models.
Toyota's top-selling Camry midsize sedan saw sales fall 37 percent while Corolla compact sales plunged 53 percent.
One bright spot for Toyota was its recently released third-generation Prius, which saw sales rise 10 percent. Prius sales had suffered in recent months as gas prices plunged from more than $4 per gallon last summer to below $2 a gallon in the winter.
Nissan Motor Co., the No. 3 Japanese automaker, also enjoyed a better month. Its sales fell 23 percent to 48,298 in June on sales declines of its top-selling Altima sedan. The automaker sold 2,137 units of its boxy Nissan Cube in its first month of sales, while sales of its 350/370Z roadster climbed 11 percent.
Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford Motor Co. has seen its market share grow while rivals Chrysler Group LLC, which emerged from bankruptcy protection on June 10, and General Motors Corp. struggle.
The monthly decline was Ford's smallest since July of last year, a sign of life amid the worst slump in 27 years. Ford sold 154,873 cars and light trucks last month, with strength in its midsize Fusion and the Flex crossover vehicle.
Chrysler said it sold only 68,297 vehicles last month, despite fire-sale prices at 789 dealerships that the company terminated.
Ford's surprisingly low decline came after a string of months in which it and other automakers reported year-over-year drops of more than 40 percent. Ford's sales were down 24 percent in May and off 37 percent for the first five months of the year.
"The important takeaway is that we're not going backward, we're not slipping back," Ford's top sales analyst, George Pipas, said Monday.
Ford is the sole U.S. automaker to avoid bankruptcy protection and it's the only one not receiving government loans to keep from running out of money. GM and Chrysler are receiving billions in loans, and GM inching its way closer to escaping Chapter 11.
In anticipation of increased traffic at dealers and higher sales later in the year, Ford announced Monday that it would boost its third-quarter production by 25,000 vehicles.
AP Auto Writers Kimberly S. Johnson in Detroit and Dan Strumpf in New York contributed to this report.
Source: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,632494,00.htmlOBAMA'S MISTAKES
By Gabor Steingart
The occupant of the White House may have changed recently. But the amount of ill-advised ideology coming from Washington has remained constant. Obama's list of economic errors is long -- and continues to grow.
The president may have changed, but the excesses of American politics have remained. Barack Obama and George W. Bush, it has become clear, are more similar than they might seem at first glance.
Ex-President Bush was nothing if not zealous in his worldwide campaign against terror, transgressing human rights and breaking international law along the way. Now, Obama is displaying the same zeal in his own war against the financial crisis -- and his weapon of choice is the money-printing machine. The rules the new American president is breaking are those which govern the economy. Nobody is being killed. But the strategy comes at a price -- and that price might be America's position as a global power.
In his fight against terrorism, Bush had the ideologue Dick Cheney at his side. "We must take the battle to the enemy," he said -- and sent out the bomber squadrons toward Iraq on the basis of mere suspicion. The result of the offensive is well known.
Obama's Cheney is named Larry Summers. He is Obama's senior-most economic advisor, and like the former vice president, he is a man of conviction. The financial crisis may be large, but Summers' self-confidence is even larger. More importantly, President Barack Obama follows him like a dog does its master.
The crisis, Summers intoned last week at a conference of Deutsche Bank's Alfred Herrhausen Society in Washington, was caused by too much confidence, too much credit and too many debts. It was hard not to nod along in agreement.
But then Summers added that the way to bring about an end to the crisis was -- more confidence, more credit and more debt. And the nodding stopped. Experts and non-experts alike were perplexed. Even in an interview following the presentation, Summers was unable to supply an adequate explanation for how a crisis caused by frivolous lending was going to be solved through yet more frivolity.
Summers has no misgivings, and doesn't recognize those held by others. The fact that German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently gave a speech in which she was critical of the US economic stimulus program did not impress Summers. In our conversation, he said he thought Merkel's position was a tactical one. "She only says that out of domestic concerns," he said and rolled his eyes in disapproval. The battle must be taken to the enemy.
Just as the US public initially rallied behind the war President Bush -- even to the point of re-electing him -- Americans have now thrown their support behind the debt president Obama. The mistakes of the Bush administration are now widely accepted. The mistakes of the Obama administration are still not recognized as such. They are seen as the truth.
The Obama Administration's Five Errors
Mistake number one: It's not as bad as it seems. The US amassed much more debt during World War II, it is often said. That, though, is not true. According to conservative forecasts, Obama's policies could end up being three times as expensive as US expenditures during World War II. If one calculates using today's prices, America spent $3 trillion for the war. Obama's budgetary calculations for the decade between 2010 and 2020 assume additional debt of $9 trillion.
Second: It is generally assumed that the money is part of an effort to resuscitate the crisis-plagued economy and is thus serving a good purpose. The truth of the matter is that the bulk of the borrowed money will be used to finance the normal US budget. American borrowing in 2009 comprises about half of Obama's budget. The country is living beyond its means -- and it still would have been even if it weren't for the economic crisis.
The third error: Many believe that when the crisis ends, borrowing will automatically fall. The truth is that it could climb afterwards. The graying of American society creates a new fiscal policy challenge for the country that so far hasn't been reflected in any budget plan. According to calculations by the International Monetary Fund, Washington would need to spend several times more than it is now just to service current pension entitlements and the free, state-funded medical care provided to senior citizens. In addition, Obama has promised to introduce healthcare coverage for America's close to 46 million uninsured. That would be like adding a country the size of Spain to the US.
Fourth: The world believes that the US is borrowing money from capital markets. It is often said that the Chinese and the Japanese will buy government bonds. But the truth of the matter is that trust in the gravitas and reliability of the United States has suffered to such a great degree that fewer and fewer foreigners are purchasing its government bonds. That's why the Federal Reserve is now buying securities that it has printed itself. The Fed's balance sheet has more than doubled since 2007, making the US central bank one of the world's fastest-growing companies. The purpose of this company, though, is to create money out of thin air.
Fallacy No. 5: The additional money is harmless because the economy is starting to pull together again and there is no threat of inflation. The truth is that the quiet on the inflation front is deceptive. The hot money is accumulating in people's savings accounts and in the balance sheets of banks that aren't keen to lend money at the moment. The supply of money has increased by 45 percent in the last three years and there has not been a corresponding rise in hard assets or production. That imbalance will eventually make itself felt in the form of inflation.
The dollar, which has already lost 40 percent of its value against the euro since 2000, would then devaluate and its reputation would be further diminished. The world's reserve currency could be pushed through the floor by the shockwaves. At that point, those waves would also wash over the rest of the world. Then people would have to look back and say that the means the US used to fight the economic crisis in fact paved the way for a currency crisis.
The German response to the excesses of the Bush era was refusal and obstinacy. Gerhard Schr?der refused to go to war in Iraq with America and he organized a European resistance front that reached from Moscow to Paris.
Germany still hasn't provided its response to the Obama administration's fiscal policy excesses. Perhaps its time for Merkel to take her cue from Schr?der.
Maybe in some quarters, but not here.
MichaelLijewski said:Government takeovers are not popular in the United States and are generally thought of as doomed to failure, but a takeover in the 1970's turned one failed giant into a profitable concern.
It was called "The Standard Railroad of the World," and it wasn't much of an exaggeration. The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) had gone from a primitive and feeble line in the 1840's to the busiest railroad in the United States, covering 10,000 miles of rail with a quarter million employees. It was the largest publicly traded company in the world and paid out dividends for over a hundred years running.
The PRR was innovative, built much of its own equipment, and was fiercely competitive. During the 1930's, PRR electrified its lines between Ney York City and Washington D.C. - lines that today make up Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. Soon Stylish GG1 electric locomotives were speeding people between the two cities in record time. Even the Great Depression couldn't stop the Pennsylvania Railroad.
But cars could, automobile and truck traffic started eating into U.S. railroad profits as early as World War One. While railroads could still capture long haul and commodity freight, local freight dried up over the first half of the 20th century, leaving the PRR overbuilt - there were too many railroad tracks, going too many places. On top of this, government regulations failed to keep up with the times. Rules governing 19th century railroads, which held monopoly status in many locations, hurt 20th century railroads which now had to compete with cars and trucks.
On top of that, according to Rush Loving's book, "The Men Who Loved Trains: The Story of Men Who Battled Greed to Save an Ailing Industry," PRR management had devolved to a deplorable condition. Things went from bad to worse when PRR merged with the New York Central Railroad to become Penn Central. Within two years Penn Central was bankrupt and barely functioning.
That's when the U.S. government stepped in. Penn Central was the major railroad in much of the northeast section of the country and beyond, something had to be done. The public was skeptical, "the government can't run a railroad" they said. Even though the government had controlled all of the country's lines during World War One, pessimism ruled the day. The new company was called Conrail, and after some very tough years, Conrail emerged as a profitable and important corporation, so profitable that CSX and Norfolk Southern fought a hard battle to take it over, finally agreeing to split the acquisition. A happy ending.
The Conrail disaster is different from the GM debacle in many ways, but it does inform us that government "bailouts" have worked in the past. Perhaps, in a few years, it will be full steam ahead for the "New GM." Stranger things have really happened.
So, more lazy stupid UAW workers who *should* be out of work are now going to be half-assedly building a GM car that nobody wants to buy. This doesn't smell of political payback at all..... no, wait...Economics Wasn't GM's Only Criteria for New Plant
By NEIL KING JR. and JOHN D. STOLL
When it was deciding where to build its new compact car, General Motors Corp. made a point of saying it would push politics aside and use strictly commercial criteria.
So Tennessee's three top officials were astonished last month, in a meeting with GM, when they were told the first two criteria were "community impact" and "carbon footprint" -- or how the choice would affect unemployment rates and carbon-dioxide emissions.
"Those didn't strike us as business criteria at all," said Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, who was joined in the meeting by fellow Republican Sen. Bob Corker and the state's Democratic governor, Phil Bredesen. Those factors, Mr. Alexander said, "seemed odd for a company struggling to get back on its feet."
On June 26, after a monthlong competition, GM tapped an existing factory in Orion, Mich., pushing aside competing plants in Spring Hill, Tenn., and Janesville, Wis.
All the sites had merits, but the Michigan plant had additional attractions. It is embedded in a struggling state that is a Democratic stronghold. The Orion site, 35 miles from GM's Detroit headquarters, is also close to tens of thousands of current and former United Auto Workers union employees, whose pressure previously helped persuade GM to scrap plans to build the car overseas.
The area has one of the region's highest unemployment rates, at 12.4%, though the Wisconsin site's was even higher, at 12.9%. Janesville, by contrast, offered a less-expensive labor pool, according to people briefed on the plan. In Spring Hill, GM has a new, $225 million paint shop. The Orion plant's paint shop needs to be replaced.
Set to emerge from bankruptcy within weeks, GM declined to disclose the factors it weighed in picking Orion, but said the process was free of political meddling. "It's in the best interest of all involved to not discuss the selection criteria for the small-car plant," said GM spokeswoman Sherrie Childers Arb. "All three plants have individual merits, but when all told, the Orion plant scenario provided the best business case."
The federal government's outsize role in the new GM has already raised concerns about the mixing of politics and commerce. Lawmakers, such as Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee, have squeezed GM to reject plant closures in their districts. Obama administration officials have prodded the car giant to develop smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.
The multistate tussle over the compact-car plant was itself the byproduct of political pressure. This spring, while seeking upward of $50 billion in federal assistance to shed debt and keep afloat, GM disclosed plans to import a new line of compact cars the size of a Toyota Yaris from China. That sparked an outcry from the UAW and from Congress, which put pressure on the Obama administration to persuade GM to drop the plan and build the cars in the U.S. GM, already deeply indebted to the government, agreed.
GM plans to invest more than $800 million to retool the Orion plant, with the aim of building its first U.S.-made compacts by 2011. The operation is expected to employ 1,400 workers. The UAW agreed to allow GM to employ lower-cost workers earning $14 to $16.23 an hour, compared with the current base of $28 an hour, with less-expensive benefits than traditional assembly-line personnel.
Troy Clarke, GM's head of North American production, told reporters after the Orion announcement that GM was confident "that we have the ability to do this on a very cost-competitive basis."
Even with the labor savings, analysts question the logic of building a compact car in the U.S. Margins are so tight that even Toyota and Honda have opted to build their smallest models in countries with lower labor costs. "Virtually nobody makes cars that size in the U.S.," said CSM Worldwide automotive analyst Michael Robinet. "There is a reason why GM at the outset was going to bring this car in from China."
Estimates peg GM's losses on U.S.-built small cars at roughly $1,000 to $2,000 per vehicle sold in recent years. Lawmakers and congressional staffers involved in the compact-car competition said GM acknowledged the company expected to struggle to break even on the venture. GM views small cars as central to its bid to become what Mr. Clarke called "the greenest car company in the world."
Anticipating higher gasoline prices, the cars will be "more and more toward the sweet spot of the market" when they roll off the assembly line sometime after 2012, Mr. Clarke said. Even before the competition got under way, GM officials told the U.S. auto task force in late May they were inclined to pick the Orion facility.
Michigan won the bidding by offering $779 million in business tax credits over the next 20 years, along with $130 million in federal funds for worker training. Local officials threw in additional $102 million in incentives.
Write to Neil King Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org and John D. Stoll at email@example.com
Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page B2
Electric Cars Will Not Decrease Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Says Federal Study
Thursday, June 25, 2009
By Monica Gabriel
(CNSNews.com) ? The stimulus law enacted in February promoted the purchase of plug-in electric cars by the federal government and the broader market, but a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released this month says that the use of plug-in electric vehicles will not by itself decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
To do that, the report argues, the United States would have to switch from coal-burning plants to lower-emission sources to generate electricity such as nuclear power.
?If you are using coal fired power plants and half the country?s electricity comes from coal powered plants, are you just trading one greenhouse gas emitter for another??
Mark Gaffigan, co-author of the GAO report and a specialist in energy issues told CNSNews.com.
The report found that the adoption of plug-in cars could result in benefits, including reduced petroleum consumption and dependency.
But it concedes that in regions of the country heavily reliant on coal for power generation, electric plug-in vehicles will not result in a decrease in green house gas emissions.
?Reduction in CO2 emissions depend on generating electricity used to charge the vehicles from lower-emission sources of energy,? GAO reported.
?For plug-ins to reach their full potential, electricity would need to be generated from lower-emission fuels such as nuclear and renewable energy rather than the fossil fuels--coal and natural gas--used most often to generate electricity today.?
In an attempt to encourage the development and manufacturing of ?plug-in? electric vehicles, the government has allocated $300 million from the economic stimulus funding to the General Services Administration (GSA) to acquire fuel-efficient vehicles. These funds must be spent by 2011.
The GAO report pointed out that the stimulus law also establishes a tax credit for consumers for the purchase of plug-in cars--up to $2,500 for two-wheeled, three-wheeled, and low-speed plug-in cars.
But the report cites results from a study showing that ?if plug-in hybrids reached 56 percent of the cars on the road by 2030, they would require an increased electricity production, much of which would likely come from additional coal plants.?
The government watchdog said that adjustments would need to be made, such as building new nuclear plants and developing technology so that fossil fuel plants will be equipped to capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2).
?However, new nuclear plants and renewable energy sources can be controversial and expensive,? the report noted.
While not a mandate, goals within President Obama?s executive order (No. 13423) encourage the integration of plug-in hybrid cars into federal vehicle fleets. The GAO report, while remaining supportive of the goal, pointed out the difficulties in achieving plug-in integration.
?Developing policy or incentives to encourage consumers to buy plug-ins only in regions with low-carbon energy sources could be difficult and may not correspond with manufacturers? business plans,? reported the GAO.
Another impediment to the success of plug-in cars, is the high cost of lithium-ion batteries. The GAO report noted that in order for plug-in cars to be cost effective they must be relatively inexpensive compared to gas.
?Research suggests that for plug-ins to be cost-effective relative to gasoline vehicles the price of batteries must come down significantly and gasoline prices must be high relative to electricity,? the report said.
Gaffigan told CNSNews.com that $2 billion of the Recovery Act funds are being expended for grants to manufacture plug-in batteries, and the money is not limited to lithium-ion batteries.
But Gaffigan also explained that this particular impediment would not go away just because the government threw a lot of money at it.
?At the end of the day, if gasoline is still relatively cheap compared to the other alternatives, there is just not going to be that kind of motivation for the market place to develop something else,? Gaffigan told CNSNews.com.
Furthermore, foreign dependency on lithium could take the place of dependency on petroleum.
?The United States has supplies of lithium, but if demand for lithium exceeded domestic supplies, or if lithium from overseas is less expensive, the United States could substitute reliance on one foreign resource (oil) for another (lithium),? warned the GAO.
?Yes, it is a very real possibility,? Gaffigan confirmed when CNSNews.com asked about the possibility of lithium dependency.
To make matters worse, while lithium-ion batteries are attractive because they produce insignificant levels of toxic waste, the extraction of lithium could have harmful environmental consequences.
?Extracting lithium from locations where it is abundant, such as South America, could pose environmental challenges that would damage the ecosystems in this area,? the GAO report pointed out.
So unless I'm not calculating this right normal base wage for an assembly line worker is MORE than starting salary in my team where a BS is MANDATORY to even get an interview....he UAW agreed to allow GM to employ lower-cost workers earning $14 to $16.23 an hour, compared with the current base of $28 an hour, with less-expensive benefits than traditional assembly-line personnel.
I hope you mean a BSc and not BS - I know lots of people with BS. ...Awesome so now they will tax the shit out of gas just to throw money at Lithium....
So unless I'm not calculating this right normal base wage for an assembly line worker is MORE than starting salary in my team where a BS is MANDATORY to even get an interview....
'Put nothing in writing,' Browner told auto execs on secret White House CAFE talks; Sensenbrenner wants investigation
By: Mark Tapscott
Editorial Page Editor
Carol Browner, former Clinton administration EPA head and current Obama White House climate czar, instructed auto industry execs "to put nothing in writing, ever" regarding secret negotiations she orchestrated regarding a deal to increase federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.
Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-WI, is demanding a congressional investigation of Browner's conduct in the CAFE talks, saying in a letter to Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA, that Browner "intended to leave little or no documentation of the deliberations that lead to stringent new CAFE standards."
Federal law requires officials to preserve documents concerning significant policy decisions, so instructing participants in a policy negotation concerning a major federal policy change could be viewed as a criminal act.
Waxman is chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Sensenbrenner is the ranking Republican member of the panel.
Browner's informal directive was previously reported by The New York Times. Sensebrenner's letter is being made public tomorrow. A copy was made available to The Examiner by an official with knowledge of the controversy.
Sensenbrenner also wants a congressional investigation of why a global warming study by Alan Carlin, an EPA economist who is a career civil servant, was suppressed by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and other senior agency officials. The study warned of seriously damaging economic consequences for small businesses if the agency moved to regulate CO2 gases as illegal emissions under the Clean Air Act.
The CO2 gases, which are also produced by humans and other air-breathing creatures when they exhale, are viewed by global warming activists as contributing to the trapping of heat in the atmosphere when carbon-based fuels like oil and coal are burned. Carlin's situation was previously detailed here by The Examiner.
When the study author requested that it be included in official EPA materials on the issue of whether the agency should adopt an "endangerment rule" to allow regulation of CO2, senior agency officials denied it. Al McGartland, director of EPA's National Center for Environmental Economics, told Carlin that his study was rejected because "your comments do not help the legal or policy case" for EPA's decision to enact the endangerment rule.
In other words, according to Sensenbrenner, EPA officials purposely ignored the study simply because it did not advance their political policy agenda. Both President Obama and EPA's Jackson have repeatedly promised not to make policy decisions on the basis of political or ideological considerations.
The full text of Sensenbrenner's letter follows:
July 8, 2009
The Honorable Edward Markey
Chairman, House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Markey:
During her confirmation hearing, Administrator Jackson promised ?overwhelming
transparency.? She said, ?[a]s Administrator, I will ensure EPA?s efforts to address the
environmental rises of today are rooted in three fundamental values: Science-based policies and
programs, adherence to the rule of law, and overwhelming transparency.? Notwithstanding this
promise, EPA has conducted itself under an unprecedented veil of secrecy.
I initially raised these concerns in a letter to you and Congressman Towns dated June 9,
2009.1 In that letter I cited two incidents. First, Mary Nichols, the head of the California Air
Resources Board (CARB), revealed that the White House had held a series of secret meetings as
they were crafting the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Nichols
admitted that there was a deliberate ?vow of silence? surrounding the negotiations with the
White House on vehicle fuel standards.2 According to Nichols, ?[Carol] Browner [Assistant to
the President for Energy and Climate Change] quietly orchestrated private discussions from the
White House with auto industry officials.? Negotiators were instructed to ?put nothing in
writing, ever.? Clearly, Browner?s actions were intended to leave little to no documentation of
the deliberations that lead to stringent new CAFE standards.
The second issue raised in the previous letter related to EPA?s proposed endangerment
finding. An official from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) warned EPA in an
interagency memo that ?[m]aking a decision to regulate CO2 under the CAA for the first time is
likely to have serious economic consequences for regulated entities throughout the U.S.
economy, including small businesses and small communities.?3 According to Administration
sources, these warning were dismissed, in part, because they originated from ?a Bush
Holdover.?4 In fact, the ?holdover? was a career civil servant hired by the Clinton
1 Letter from the Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner and Darrel Issa to the Honorable Edolphus Towns and
Edward Markey (June 9, 2009).
2 Colin Sullivan, Vow of Silence Key to White House-California Fuel Economy Talks, New York Times,
May 20, 2009.
3 Ian Talley, OMB Memo: Serious Impact Likely from EPA CO2 Rules, Dow Jones Newswire, May 11,
2009, available at http://www.djnewsplus.com/article_ss/SB124206897993062889.html?param=gn&
4 Ian Talley, EPA Chief Says CO2 Finding May Not ?Mean Regulation,? Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2009.
I am again raising concerns regarding the transparency of EPA?s process in light of new
evidence of suppression at EPA. In a series of emails, dated March 12-17, 2009, the Director of
EPA?s National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE) expressly refused to include
relevant scientific evidence in the official record because, in his view, the administration had
already reached its conclusion regarding the endangerment finding.
On March 16, a senior analyst with EPA wrote to his office director to request that his
comments be included in EPA?s record. The analyst wrote:
I believe my comments are valid, significant, and contain references to significant new
research since the cut-off for IPCC and CCSP inputs. They are significant because they
present information critical to the justification (or lack thereof) for the proposed
endangerment finding. They are valid because they explain much of the observational data
that have been collected which cannot be explained by the IPCC models.
In response, the director refused to forward the analyst?s comments, not because he questioned
their scientific merits, but because ?[t]he administrator and administration has decided to move
forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this
The director then sent a follow-up email, forbidding the analyst from continuing his
work: ?With the endangerment finding nearly final, you need to move on to other issues and
subjects. I don?t want you to spend any additional EPA time on climate change. No papers, no
As it did with the OMB memo, EPA attacked the analyst?s credibility. In response to
publication of the above emails, EPA spokeswoman Adora Andy reiterated EPA?s now empty
pledge of transparency and said, ?n this instance, certain opinions were expressed by an
individual who is not a scientist and was not part of the working group dealing with this issue.?6
In fact, the analyst is a 38-year EPA employee with a scientific background, but
regardless, EPA?s response ignores the ultimate problem. NCEE?s director did not dismiss the
analyst?s opinions because of his scientific background or because of the merits of his study, the
director expressly refused to forward his opinion because they did not support the conclusions
that EPA had already reached.
This past December, President Obama said, ?[p]romoting science isn?t just about
providing resources?it?s about protecting free and open inquiry. It?s about ensuring that facts
and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It?s about listening to what
our scientists have to say, even when it?s inconvenient?especially when it?s inconvenient.?
5 Email from Office Director of EPA?s NCEE to Senior Operations Research Analyst at NCEE (March 17,
6 Robin Bravender, House GOP Accuses Admin of Suppressing EPA Staff on ?endangerment' finding,?
E&ENews (June 25, 2009).
The email exchange documents a second instance in which EPA refused to consider
alternative internal opinions and delineates an agency culture set in a predetermined course. It
therefore raises substantial questions about what additional evidence may have been suppressed.
EPA has become an agency determined to silence inconvenient perspectives, but as
policymakers we must openly and honestly consider all reliable evidence.
I therefore respectfully request that we hold a hearing to investigate the lack of transparency at EPA. I am prepared to assist in any way necessary to help prepare for such a hearing.
F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.
Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 23, 2009
- - - - - - -
ESTABLISHING A WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL ON
AUTOMOTIVE COMMUNITIES AND WORKERS
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. Over the last decade, the United States has experienced a decline in employment in the auto industry and among part suppliers. This decline has accelerated dramatically over the past year, with more than 400,000 jobs being lost in the industry. Unemployment in the automotive sector in towns and cities across the country has reached levels not seen in decades, with resulting increases in poverty and high home foreclosure rates.
The purpose of this order is to establish a coordinated Federal response to issues that particularly impact automotive communities and workers and to ensure that Federal programs and policies address and take into account these concerns.
Sec. 2. White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers. There is established within the Executive Office of the President the White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers (Council).
(a) Membership. The Council shall consist of the following members:
(1) the Secretary of Labor and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council, who shall serve as Co-Chairs of the Council;
(2) the Secretary of the Treasury;
(3) the Secretary of Defense;
(4) the Attorney General;
(5) the Secretary of the Interior;
(6) the Secretary of Agriculture;
(7) the Secretary of Commerce;
(8) the Secretary of Health and Human Services;
(9) the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development;
(10) the Secretary of Transportation;
(11) the Secretary of Energy;
(12) the Secretary of Education;
(13) the Secretary of Veterans Affairs;
(14) the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers;
(15) the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency;
(16) the Director of the Office of Management and Budget;
(17) the United States Trade Representative;
(18) the Administrator of General Services;
(19) the Administrator of the Small Business Administration;
(20) the Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement;
(21) the Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary;
(22) the Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council;
(23) the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality;
(24) the Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change; and
(25) the heads of such other executive departments, agencies, and offices as the President may, from time to time, designate.
A member of the Council may designate, to perform the Council functions of the member, a senior-level official who is a part of the member's department, agency, or office, and who is a full-time officer or employee of the Federal Government.
(b) Administration. The Co-Chairs shall convene regular meetings of the Council, determine its agenda, and direct its work. The Director for Recovery of Auto Communities and Workers (Director of Recovery) shall serve as Executive Director of the Council and shall coordinate the Council's activities. At the direction of the Co-Chairs, the Council may establish subgroups consisting exclusively of Council members or their designees, as appropriate.
Sec. 3. Mission and Functions. The Council shall perform the following functions, to the extent permitted by law:
(a) Provide leadership and coordinate the development of policies and programs across executive departments and agencies to ensure a coordinated Federal response to issues that have a distinct impact on automotive communities and workers;
(b) Advise the President on the effects of pending legislation and executive branch policy proposals on automotive communities and workers;
(c) Provide recommendations to the President on changes to Federal policies and programs to address issues of special importance to automotive communities and workers; and
(d) Help ensure that officials across the executive branch, including officials on existing committees or task forces addressing automotive issues, advance the President's agenda for automotive communities and support the Director of Recovery's coordination of Federal economic adjustment assistance activities. Such support may include the use of personnel, technical expertise, and available financial resources. It may be used to provide a coordinated Federal response to the needs of individual States, regions, municipalities, and communities adversely affected by auto industry changes.
Sec. 4. Outreach. Consistent with the objectives set forth in this order, the Council, in accordance with applicable law, in addition to regular meetings, shall conduct outreach to representatives of nonprofit organizations, business, labor, State and local government agencies, elected officials, and other interested persons that will assist in bringing to the President's attention concerns, ideas, and policy options for expanding and improving efforts to revitalize automotive communities.
Sec. 5. Termination. The Council shall terminate 2 years after the date of this order unless extended by the President.
Sec. 6. General Provisions.
(a) The heads of executive departments and agencies shall assist and provide information to the Council, consistent with applicable law, as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the Council. Each executive department and agency shall bear its own expense for participating in the Council.
(b) Executive departments and agencies shall afford consideration to requests from automotive communities for Federal technical assistance, financial resources, excess or surplus property, or other resources.
(c) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(d) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(e) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
June 23, 2009.
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