FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 8, 2007
Brendan Cummings, Center for Biological Diversity, (760) 366-2232 ext. 304
Jane Kochersperger, Greenpeace, (202) 680-3798
Danielle Fugere, Bluewater Network / Friends of the Earth, (415) 544-0790 ext. 15
Sen. Kerry and Rep. Inslee Join Conservation Groups in Global
Warming Lawsuit Against Bush Administration
Members of Congress File Key Document Detailing
Suppression of Science by Government
SAN FRANCISCO– Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and Representative Jay Inslee (D-WA) joined conservation groups today, filing an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit against the Bush administration for its failure to issue a legally required National Assessment of climate change impacts on the United States that is now over two years overdue. The members of Congress filed the amicus brief today in Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, and Greenpeace, Inc. v. Brennan, et al. (Case No. 06-CV-7062 (SBA) (N.D. Cal.)), a lawsuit calling on the administration to comply with the Global Change Research Act of 1990. The court filing comes a day after the Senate Commerce Committee heard testimony regarding the suppression of climate science by the administration.
“Members of Congress are among the key decision-makers the National Assessment was designed to inform about the profound threats posed to the United States by global warming,” said Brendan Cummings of the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the attorneys arguing the case. “The Bush Administration’s suppression of the National Assessment is an illegal attempt to hide the impacts of global warming not just from Congress but from the public as a whole.”
The National Assessment is intended to be the preeminent summary for decision-makers of the best available scientific information relating to the impacts of global warming on the United States. The last National Assessment was issued in late 2000 and by law must be updated every four years.
In their brief, the members of Congress argue that “Defendants’ failure to act in accordance with the express congressional direction in the GCRA… has profound implications for the nation’s ability to begin seriously addressing today’s greatest environmental challenge – global warming.”
“Knowledge is the key to effective action,” said Danielle Fugere, global warming program director for Friends of the Earth. “Withholding information about the looming impacts of global warming is a disservice to the American people. We need complete, timely, and accurate information from this administration.”
Filed with the amicus brief is a declaration by Rick Piltz, former senior associate with the Climate Change Science Program. Piltz resigned his post in March 2005, declaring that the White House’s suppression of the 2000 Assessment and its subsequent refusal to produce a 2004 Assessment comprise “the central climate science scandal of the Bush administration.” His declaration provides a chronology of events indicating that industry groups influenced the administration’s decision not only to quash use of the 2000 National Assessment, but also to bar preparation of the legally required update. Mr. Piltz also testified regarding the assessment at yesterday’s Commerce Committee hearing.
"The Bush administration has done everything possible to hide the truth about global warming. By suppressing a national assessment the administration has denied mayors, governors and congress the most important analysis of the impacts of climate change for America", said John Coequyt, Greenpeace energy analyst. “We really can’t afford partisanship on an issue of such great urgency.”
A hearing on plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment is scheduled for April 17, 2007 in federal district court in Oakland, California. Plaintiffs are seeking a court order requiring the administration to complete the overdue National Assessment. Plaintiffs’ motion is accompanied by the supporting declaration of Michael MacCracken, Ph.D, former director of the U.S. Global Climate Change Research Program and one of the authors of the 2000 National Assessment.
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The amicus brief, declarations, summary judgment motion, and other relevant documents are available online at http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/programs/policy/energy/national-assessment.html
The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with over 32,000 members dedicated to the protection of imperiled species and their habitats.
Greenpeace is a nonprofit corporation with 250,000 U.S. members that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions for the future.
Friends of the Earth is a nonprofit conservation organization whose mission is to defend the environment and ensure a healthy and just world. Friends of the Earth has 30,000 members across the U.S.