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California Sues Over EPA Waiver

From Crooks and Liars.

Usually, when someone applies for a waiver of some legislation, it's because they are unable to comply with the standards set. Not so when it comes to the EPA air quality standards and the state of California. California has been on the forefront of combatting smog since the 70s when we had nearly daily smog alerts. And since 1975, California has requested and received a waiver from federal EPA standards, because our standards were stricter.

But then we got the Bush administration.

First the Bush EPA sat on the request, shrugging its shoulders and saying it didn't have the power to regulate (or allow others to regulate) greenhouse gas emissions. Then, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled otherwise, the Bush administration simply hunkered down and refused to do it (or allow anyone else to do it).

This from an administration that goes out of it's way to yak about states' rights, except when it could actually benefit the states, as opposed to the car manufacturers' who have their own version of Cardinal Richelieu/Death Vader in the White House.

The US vice-president, Dick Cheney, was behind a controversial decision to block California's attempt to impose tough emission limits on car manufacturers, according to insiders at the government Environmental Protection Agency.

Staff at the agency, which announced last week that California's proposed limits were redundant, said the agency's chief went against their expert advice after car executives met Cheney, and a Chrysler executive delivered a letter to the EPA saying why the state should not be allowed to regulate greenhouse gases.

EPA staff members told the Los Angeles Times that the agency's head, the Bush appointee Stephen Johnson, ignored their conclusions and shut himself off from consultation in the month before the announcement. He then informed them of his decision and instructed them to provide the legal rationale for it, they said.

"California met every criteria ... on the merits," an anonymous member of the EPA staff told the Times. "The same criteria we have used for the last 40 years ... We told him that. All the briefings we have given him laid out the facts."

In an editorial, the New York Times described the decision as, "an indefensible act of executive arrogance that can only be explained as the product of ideological blindness and as a political payoff to the automobile industry".

From the New York Times

Twelve states -- Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington -- have adopted the California emissions standards, and the governors of Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Utah have said they planned to do so.

The California regulations would have forced the car companies either to sell two separate fleets of vehicles -- one for states with the higher standard, one that met the federal standard -- or more likely, to achieve the higher standard across all vehicles.

An admimistration that according to George Bush takes the issue of carbon emissions "seriously".. ...cough, cough, stonewalls then subverts the Environmental Protection Agency in order to reward Dick Cheney and his gang, and then asks the staff of EPA to try find a legal rationale out of this mess, instead of actually doing the job they are supposed to be doing like protecting the environment.

Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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