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Unions File Petition Urging Action on Global Warming

The presidents of 22 locals of five unions—the American Federation of Government Employees, the Engineers and Scientists of California, the National Association of Government Employees, the National Association of Independent Labor, and the National Treasury Employees Union—that represent public employees signed a petition calling on Congress to take immediate action against global warming.

Among the employees represented by the unions are more than 10,000 scientists, engineers and other technical specialists working in the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—more than half of the agency workforce.

The filing of the petition coincides with oral arguments before the US Supreme Court on a case (Massachusetts v. EPA, Case No. 05-1120) brought by states seeking to force the Bush administration to regulate greenhouse gases that fuel global warming under the Clean Air Act.

The petition signatories represent more than half of the total EPA workforce. Addressed to the members of the Senate and House committees overseeing EPA, the petition argues that:

  • The strategy of using primarily voluntary and incentive-based programs to reduce greenhouse gases is not working;

  • EPA has abdicated its enforcement responsibilities by failing to investigate coal-electric plants for technical options to control carbon;and

  • EPA’s scientists and engineers must be able to speak frankly and directly with Congress and the public regarding climate change, without fear of reprisal.

The petition was released by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch noted that the petition began among EPA staff.



"EPA has abdicated its enforcement responsibilities by failing to investigate coal-electric plants for technical options to control carbon;"

On the one hand, EPA argued yesterday before the Supreme Court that the emissions from autos is too trivial to bother with. On the other hand, they do nothing to require technology, such as IGCC and sequestration, to cut or virtually eliminate co2 from coal. The fact is, they are not interested in regulating co2, period, unless they are forced to. This isn't a knock on EPA per se, but a criticism of higher ups within the Bush administration.

fyi CO2

Ahh, the "too trivial" argument; the US is certainly earning respect around the globe with its continued stance of ignorance.


The guard dog would like it's muzzle removed and be allowed to do it's job. The employees are tired of Bush hacks re-writing their reports and putting lies in their mouths.


I'm waiting to see how the UAW responds. They've been as guilty as the Detroit automakers in thwarting any increase in CAFE.

Harvey D.

Will we see a great democracy at work or another demonstration on how a Supreme Court and the people can easily be silenced?

Place your bet.


And if you happen to subscribe to mind-numbing soap-operas offered as "political action" these days... be sure to tune in for tomorrow's life-like episode!


Meanwhile, in real world:

Adrian Akau

It seems strange that unions representing the common people can see the handwriting on the wall but the Bush administraton and Congress are blind to the most basic of global warming issues. I guess it is just another case of the Emperor's invisible clothing. The problem is bound to bite them in the nose within the next year or two when we start having hundred year storms every year.

[email protected]


For the epa to control co2 it has to get the powewr by congress. Co2 is in enough of a grey area that rhe epa currently cant push it without a ton of spendy lawsuitds many of wich they could lose. And all of wich would likely take longer then global warming itself;/

As for the unions many of them still havnt glomed onto the cold hard fact that they are about to get laid off. There is NO reason whatsoever for gm or ford or any bussiness to make a new factory or retrofit an old one in america when they csn make a cheaper better plant in china where the stuff the plant makes is actauly USED. to make the crap we buy.

Gm has explaned its employment in china by 75000 workers already ON TOP of a 25000 initial push. Ford has build a series of huge new sites in mexico. Everyone who supplies ford and gm and all are preping to close here and open there.

What few new factoiries might get built wont be built until fuel cell cars are mainstream and they will ne nearly totaly robiyic. the only workers being robot repairmen.

kent beuchert

A petition that simply says "Do something" is pretty silly. There are so many conflicting ideas on ways to proceed, especially amongst the environmentalists who first recommend ethanol, and then decide it's not a good idea, then recommend wind, then find problems with its variability and low outputs. I think its funny that all this anger is directed at Bush, who somehow, for no logical reason, has become the target of the ultra environmentalists. This all is so reminescent of those panicky times a long time ago when everyone thought that if you threw enough money at a problem, the solution would pop right up. It was our attempt to cure cancer, all cancers. Forty years later and we're still waiting.
Bush was right and the environmetalists were wrong when he wisely observed that technology would turn out to be our savior, not conservation. We've tried conservation since the mid 70's. It doesn't work and never will, because there just isn't any appreciable amount of energy waste, and what is eliminated is quickly replaced
by new demand. Any new programs for energy will simply duplicate ones that are already active, like the Energy Dept funding of research into new batteries. Bush's biggest problem is that he's a lousy politician - he doesn't realize that there are a lot of hysterical people out there who think our world is getting warmer
in the near term and have been brainwashed into believing all kinds of silly nonsense. Like children, they need to be told twice a day that things are being done. I wonder if any of these yokels realize that one of the most consistent subjects at the cabinet meetings
has been the question of new battery developments. It's
really going to get hilarious when the environmentalists realize that the new Congress has no brilliant plans
with respect to future energy sources, etc. They didn't
say anything specific during the campaign except they were more in favor of alternative energy sources than the GOP. That vague political BS is going to come back to haunt them when they try to get specific and actually pass laws that do more good than harm. Ah yes, a Brave New World, run by the same old fools that have been in Congress for the past 30 years.

kent beuchert

I'd like a class action lawsuit targetting unions for restraint of free trade, price fixing of labor rates, extortion of the consumer, monopolistic practices, setting wages on the basis of seniority rather than ability, which is clearly illegal everywhere else, and constituting a danger to this country's industrial competitiveness. They've destroyed more than 3/4 of the auto, steel, rubber, electronics, computer, textile, and mining industries, and are well on their way to destroying what remains. Where no foreign, non-union competition exists, they are totally free to screw the consumers through their exorbitant wages. I won't buy ANYTHING made by pirate union workers. Period.
Unions are illegal and unconstitutional, and have no place in a free market economy.


Who let in the retard?


Excuse me, Kent ol' buddy, but what makes you think the USA did anything significant about conservation (as a nation) since the inauguration of Ronald Reagan?


Lots of money to be made in coal. Junior and Company scrapped any idea of upgrading coal power plants when they came in. Texas is trying to license lots of them before real laws get passed. I would guess profit is the name of the game, as it so often is.


Chances are that the most profitable area of "Alternative Energy" production will come from bioreactor-based coal > biodiesel + CO2 reduction and credits. It is a three way win for coal utilities producing two viable new sources of revenue plus CO2 credits for sale.

Flu gas to bioreactor algal oil is a HUGE business in the making right now and may do more to lower GHG than any other process on the horizon.


Kent, haven't heard an anti-union rant like that since they failed to find Jimmy Hoffa buried in cement under the Detroit's Grande Ballroom.


Using CO2 to grow biofuels for more profit? Now you are singing their profiteering tune! It costs $300 million more for the plant? Forget it, just shovel the coal into the furnace! We have created a profit seeking corporate nation. The only green they want is the color of money. When they can profit, the clean sustainable stuff is something they can brag about, but that was not their objective. I think we all know or at least sense this.


Its actauly more the dems fault on old coal plants staying as they are. The gop wanted to be able to phase in addons to the plants so the operators could acualy afford the upgrades and both make more power and pollute less. But they were shot down and instead the plants sit belching worse and worse each year because the operators arnt even allowed to maintain the damn things without the risk of a 200 illion upgrade beging forced on them.. this for a plant that might make a few mil a year wheh things arnt breaking down. No one wil EVER pay 50 years worth of income to upgrade a p[lant that will be closed in 20-50 years.

And yes I do so know I have long had friends in the industry. In the end as my dear friend and I put it the best idea is to wait till theyare shivering in the dark and then they were get there damn act together or DIE and I dont give a bleep wich they do.


Wintermane, please study the facts as documented by known sources. Clinton wanted them to upgrade if they were going to expand. Study Union of Concerned Scientists and Nation Resource Defense Council for the real information instead of slanting and biasing things.


SJC, get passed the political bias and look at wintermane's post. Yes, Clinton wanted them to upgrade enironmental controls when they were going to expand and/or do any other plant upgrades. The problem as expressed by winterman is that forcing them to expend $300 for upgraded environmental controls all at once prohibits anything from being done. Whant Bush wanted was to allow them to do phased upgrades reducing the one time up front costs. Would it have made them as clean as possible, no but we would be further ahead than we are now. Becuase of the all or nothing approach prefered by Clinton and the Dems, no plant is going to expand or do any improvements because the added cost does not justify it. Instead, they just let the plants continue to pollute and steadily fall apart. If we force "clean them up or shut them down" policy on them without some tax benefit or grant to do so, they will surely be shut down. Then we will be faced with rolling blackouts, forced electric conservation, etc. Or in the alternative, new natural gas powered generating plants which greatly increase demand for natural gas driving up natural gas costs to consumers. The problem with all of this is people want the clean tech but are not willing to pay the consumer cost associated with it. Everyone wants it but someone else should pay for it.


So now they have the "Clean Skies" initiative and we have not seen a lot of incremental improvements in coal fired power plants. Please show me how this has been so much better and I will show you and others how this has allowed business as usual.


You might want to read this article by an EPA director that quit over Bush's give aways to the coal power industry.


Becuase of the all or nothing approach prefered by Clinton and the Dems, no plant is going to expand or do any improvements because the added cost does not justify it.

Why didn't the Republicans do anything about it the past 5 years?


"Why didn't the Republicans do anything about it the past 5 years?"

They allow expansions that cost no more than 20% of the total value of the plant. They allow the old polluting plants to pollute even more and never have to implement cleaner technologies. They create loop holes that allow them to make more profit while never having to pay to clean up their mess. Again, profit is the name of the game, so we should not be surprised at the outcome. If they do not have to pay for cleaner upgrades that reduce lung disease, heart disease, birth defects and other "externalities", they make more money, then we all suffer and have to pick up the health care costs that are already skyrocketing. This site is about GreenCars and presumably that means CleanCars. If EVs and PHEVs are to be clean, then we have to have clean power plants.


Nothing much has changed since the gop got control because they dont actauly have control. Nothing can realy get through and there is no point even trying anyway. Its imply too late and not worth the bother. Its much much better to wait till rolling blackouts force each state to paniced plant building where you can get alot of tax credits and proitections from lawsuits and such. Not to mention it likely will wind up faster then wait for decades of reviews

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