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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Big oil visits White House in apparent bid to kneecap tougher smog standards

Well, friends, the clock is ticking. (No, we’re not talking about the Florida primaries, or “Super Tuesday” for that matter.)

It’s only about six weeks until the US EPA announces whether it plans to set tougher national health standards for ozone, or smog. That means it’s time for the White House to focus on the issue, which pits scientists (and kids with asthma) against the biggest and nastiest polluters.

The health evidence is overwhelming that tougher smog standards are needed to protect kids with asthma and many millions of other Americans. That is the unanimous conclusion of EPA’s independent scientific advisers.

And so – as it so often happens – representatives of big polluters have started going to the White House in an apparent big to kneecap any effort to make existing standards better.

The White House Office of Management and Budget records that several oil industry consultants came to pay a visit January 25. (See below.)

Anne Smith of CRA International is recorded to have represented the American Petroleum Institute, which has gone on record against tougher smog standards.

Teresa Gorman of LPI Consulting (once a White House environmental adviser in the first Bush administration) is listed as representing “Bingham McCuthen.” That is probably a typo.

Gorman also happens to be a registered lobbyist for Bingham McCutchen – and represents ExxonMobil on “clean air regulatory issues,” according to lobbying disclosure reports! Gorman has also visited the White House on other occasions representing ExxonMobil. You do have to wonder if there was some effort here at deception, since ExxonMobil is never mentioned. Perhaps just a clerical error.

I predict this will be the first of many White House visits as big polluters try to smogify the issue.

Note, by the way, the link below to a separate White House meeting that included corn and tobacco growers. The topic is not disclosed, though it seems pretty intriguing.

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Link to oil industry meeting at White House:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/oira/2000/meetings/692.html

Meeting Record Regarding: Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards
Date: 1/25/2008
-->
Name
Affiliation
Client (if applicable) -->
Art Fraas
OMB/OIRA

Heidi King
OMB/OIRA

Margo Schwab
OMB/OIRA

Teresa Gorman
LPI
Bingham McCuthen
Anne Smith
CRA International
API
Lydia Wegman
EPA

Harvey Richmond
EPA


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Link to meeting with corn and tobacco growers.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/oira/2000/meetings/691.html

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