According to the Guardian, Vice President Dick Cheney masterminded the EPA's recent decision to deny California the ability to impose tough new vehicle emissions limits. Governor Schwarzenegger has described the EPA's ruling as "legally indefensible."
The state was attempting to implement mandatory standards that would slash greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks by 30%. The legislation would have come into effect in 2016, four years before the new national 35mpg fuel economy standard. 16 other states were prepared to follow suit.
The EPA decided to block California, citing the 2020 35mpg standard signed into law last week as "a clear national solution," and that there was no need for a "confusing patchwork of state rules to reduce America's climate footprint from vehicles."
The Guardian reports that Bush appointee Stephen Johnson, the EPA's director, cut himself off from consultation for a month prior to the decision being announced, a move that itself came after Cheney met with members of the auto industry. Johnson's staff had previously warned him that should he block California's decision, the state would most likely win a lawsuit against the agency. Upon announcing his intention to go against that advice, Johnson tasked his staff with creating a legal justification for it.
California's Attorney General immediately announced the State's intention to pursue the matter in court, saying ""It is completely absurd to assert that California does not have a compelling need to fight global warming by curbing greenhouse gas emissions from cars. There is absolutely no legal justification for the Bush administration to deny this request - Gov. Schwarzenegger and I are preparing to sue at the earliest possible moment."
The New York Times described the decision in an editorial as being, "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." [Via The Guardian]
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