Take Responsibility for the Rhetoric, O’Donnell

By January 17, 2008Global Warming

Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, is complaining that we’ve criticized his comments and those of California Attorney General Jerry Brown on EPA’s decision to not grant a waiver to California so the state could regulate vehicle emissions. In a post on ozone regulation, O’Donnell writes:

The big polluter lobby, the National Association of Manufacturers (which, as a diversionary tactic, appears to have declared war on Clean Air Watch along with other progressives like California AG Jerry Brown http://blog.nam.org/archives/2008/01/the_rhetoric_of.php), has been stirring up various governors against tougher standards.

Declare war? Diversionary tactic? No, we’ve written several blog posts (here, here and here) taking O’Donnell and Jerry Brown to task for ugly, outrageous rhetoric for which they should be held accountable.


  • In an article at TomPaine.com, entitled “EPA’s Holy Roller,” O’Donnell attacked EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson for being a practicing Christian and speaking publicly about his faith, as if that were in any way relevant to making a decision about state regulation of carbon dioxide.
  • At a “field briefing” of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in Los Angeles on the waiver, Attorney General Jerry Brown accused the EPA and Administration of corruption, of being scofflaws, and said of Johnson, “This fellow Johnson is becoming a stooge in a really pathetic drama that hopefully will not play out much longer.”
  • These are not just some loony lefty commenters spewing out the usual ugliness and epithets in the blogosphere. Frank O’Donnell heads what is purportedly a mainstream environmental organization; he testifies before Congress and is widely quoted in the media. And yet he considers religious bigotry a legitimate political tactic.

    Jerry Brown is a statewide elected public official, the head of California’s legal branch of government, yet he’s perfectly willing to use a Congressional setting to make reckless accusations of criminality and to call a high-ranking federal official a “stooge.” Do voters consider that acceptable discourse from their state leaders?

    Condemning the injection of bigotry and wild charges of criminality into policy disputes is not a diversion, and it’s not declaring war. It’s a demand for accountability…and a little bit of decency.

    Join the discussion One Comment

    • jerry brown says:

      Mr. Johnson is charged with enforcing environmental laws. Desite the the Supreme Court’s order that the EPA develop federal tailpipe emission standards, the agency has done nothing. Worse, it has blocked California and more than a dozen states from adopting the California standard. Johnson has also failed to adopt standards for ships, planes and industiral and non-road equipment. This amounts to a gross dereliction of duty. The word “stooge” is a bit colloquial but in this case it fits. Mr. Johnson is not exercising his authority in a reasoned manner; he is taking orders.

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