Thursday, December 20, 2007

California's Officials Dispute EPA's Rationale for Rejecting Waiver Appeal.

California's Officials Dispute EPA's Rationale for Rejecting Waiver Appeal. By Alex Kaplun, E&E News, December 20, 2007. "EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson told reporters yesterday evening that the agency rejected California's waiver request in large part because the energy bill signed by President Bush earlier in the day boosted fuel efficiency standards nationwide -- essentially negating the need for states to take their own action... Additionally, Johnson said California's situation did not meet the 'compelling and extraordinary conditions' standard that is needed to approve such a waiver, arguing that climate change was a problem that did not affect California to any significantly greater extent than other parts of the country... California officials disputed those assertions, saying EPA's figures not only low-balled their standards but also ignored the fact that the state policy addresses a series of issues beyond just vehicle efficiency. 'While the federal energy bill is a good step toward reducing dependence on foreign oil, the president's approval of it does not constitute grounds for denying our waiver,' California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said in a statement yesterday. 'The energy bill does not reflect a vision, beyond 2020, to address climate change, while California's vehicle greenhouse gas standards are part of a carefully designed, comprehensive program to fight climate change through 2050'... California officials made clear yesterday that they intend to move as quickly as possible to try to get the decision overturned in federal courts... 'There is absolutely no legal justification for the Bush administration to deny this request -- Governor [Arnold] Schwarzenegger and I are preparing to sue at the earliest possible moment,' said Calif. Attorney General Edmund [Jerry] Brown Jr. (D)... [California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols described] Johnson's justification for rejecting the waiver as...'flimsy'... [and said further:] 'We really found it disturbing and somewhat disingenuous on his part.'"

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