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.