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Friday, March 7, 2008
CNS Ignores Facts Behind California EPA Controversy

A March 7 article by Monisha Bansal reported on legislation introduced by "House Democrats" (even though she notes later that one Republican is a co-sponsor) that would "overturn a Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decison barring California from setting its own emissions standards for automobiles." While Bansal quotes Rep. Brad Sherman stating that "California has applied for a waiver (to the Clean Air Act) 54 times  -- 53 have been granted," and she quotes representatives of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers essentially arguing that emissions standards are low enough, Bansal does not mention the core of the controversy.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, EPA administrator Stephen Johnson, in denying California's request, ignored its own staff's recommendation that it be granted, adding that if the waiver was denied, EPA would very likely lose in court to the state:

But if Johnson granted California the waiver and the auto industry sued, "EPA is almost certain to win," said two sources quoting the briefing document. They advised him to either grant the waiver outright or give California a temporary one for three years.

Instead, three sources said, Johnson cut off any consultation with his technical staff for the last month and made his decision before having them write the formal, legal justification for it.

The LA Times article also quoted the same AAM rep Bansal talked to, but on an issue Bansal didn't ask him about:

Charles Territo, spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers in Washington, said there was "absolutely not" any linkage between his trade group's decision to support the final version of the Senate energy bill and the EPA's decision to deny California's request for a waiver. Territo said the industry has always stressed a national mileage standard and opposed the California petition.

Bansal never explicitly states that the AAM opposed the California petition.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:04 PM EST

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