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Opinion: Jason Burnett, Bush EPA official, resigns to support Obama

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Jason Burnett has made a lot of news lately, criticizing the Bush administration for rejecting California’s request for a federal waiver that would allow the state to enforce greenhouse gas restrictions.

Burnett, until recently the associate deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, last month testified before a congressional panel about the possible White House role in overruling the EPA staff’s recommendation of the waiver. Since then, Burnett has given numerous interviews on the issue.

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Now Burnett is using his checkbook to do his talking. After quitting the administration last month, he donated $3,600 to Democrat Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. That came on top of a $1,000 contribution he made to Obama before joining the EPA.

A Stanford-trained economist and a Democrat, Burnett, 31, said in an interview that he is moving back to Northern California to campaign for Obama and Democratic Rep. Sam Farr of Carmel. He’s counting on them to support more efforts to curb greenhouse gases.

“Climate change endangers health and welfare,’ Burnett said. ‘The EPA is required to use existing law to reduce greenhouse gases. The sooner we begin addressing it in earnest, the better off we’ll be.”

Burnett predicted that California will get its waiver, either by court order or after the next president--Obama or his Republican opponent, John McCain--takes office.

--Dan Morain


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