Visepresdent Dick Cheney og miljøvernkontoret i Det hvite hus presset leder av Center for Disease Control (CDC) Julie Gerberding til å utelate seks sider av 14 om effekten av klimaforandringene på menneskers helse.
Gerberding holdt et foredrag for miljøkomiteen i Senatet, ledet av Barbara Boxer (D). Cheney ville ha utelatt helserisikoene, for ellers kunne loven om forurensing og ren luft tvunget Senatet til å foreta seg noe med karbonutslippene.
Det er seniorrådgiver i Bush-administrasjonens eget Miljøverndirektoratet, Jason K. Burnett, som avslører Cheneys press.
Nowhere were these White House concerns more apparent than when CDC Director Julie Gerberding, the head of the government’s premier public health watchdog, testified about climate change and public health before Boxer’s committee last October. The White House deleted six of the original 14 pages of Gerberding’s testimony, including a list of likely public health impacts of global warming.
The White House, at the urging of Cheney’s office, «requested that I work with CDC to remove from the testimony any discussion of the human health consequences of climate change,» wrote Burnett.
«CEQ contacted me to argue that I could best keep options open for the (EPA) administrator (on regulating carbon dioxide) if I would convince CDC to delete particular sections of their testimony,» Burnett said in the letter to Boxer.
But he said he refused to press CDC on the deletions because he believed the CDC’s draft testimony was «fundamentally accurate.»
Burnett, in a telephone interview, said he opposed making the extensive deletions because «it was the right thing to do.» He declined to elaborate about White House involvement beyond his July 6 letter to Boxer.
Det er ikke første gang det verserer historier om at Cheney forsøker å sensurere rapporter om klimafendringer. Kongressen har i lengre tid forsøkt å få påstandene dokumentert. Brevet fra Burnett er et viktig bevis.
Senate and House committees have been trying for months to get e-mail exchanges and other documents to determine the extent of political influence on government scientists, but have been rebuffed.
The letter by Burnett for the first time suggests that Cheney’s office was deeply involved in downplaying the impacts of climate change as related to public health and welfare, Senate investigators believe.