White House Rebuked over EPA Waiver

The White House put Stephen Johnson in charge of the EPA in 2005, and he has given the U.S. an anti-regulation, anti-science, anti-law approach to the health of our nation and planet. The White House and its fixer at the EPA are increasingly being sued by the states and challenged by Congress for failure to follow the law.

Last week saw Johnson called before Representative Henry Waxman’s committee and grilled on his refusal to follow the Clean Air Act and probed the White House’s role in the decision. CSPAN coverage of an entertaining snippet of the hearing is available at youtube, where Johnson refuses to answer, Waxman pushes back, Representative Darrell Issa objects to Waxman’s question, and Waxman threatens to have Issa physically removed if he does not cease. Waxman’s commitee has amassed extensive documentation of the White House’s involvement in the EPA’s denial of California’s waiver request that would have allowed it to regulation greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

Two days after Waxman’s hearing, Senator Barbara Boxer’s Committee on Environment and Public Works approved S. 2555, “The Reducing Global Warming Pollution from Vehicles Act of 2008,” which would override the EPA’s rejection of California’s waiver request:

Section 209 of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7543) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(f) Waiver- Notwithstanding subsection (b) or any other provision of law, the application for a waiver of preemption dated December 21, 2005, submitted to the Administrator pursuant to subsection (b) by the State of California for the regulation of that State to control greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles shall be considered to be approved.’

It is unclear that S. 2555 can become law, as the Committeed passed it only 10 to 9 along mostly party lines (Senators Carper of Delaware and Warner of Virginia switched sides), which indicates insufficient support to override a fillibuster or veto. However, it indicates the extent of Congressional dissatisfaction with the White House’s action.

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— Earl Killian

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