Boxer Sticks It to Johnson
Senate hearing probes EPA chief’s delay on tailpipe decision
Can U.S. states enact stricter tailpipe regulations than the feds? That question has been hovering in the air since California requested a waiver from the U.S. EPA in late 2005. Why no answer yet? At a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing yesterday, EPA head Stephen Johnson said the delay is due to a “rigorous analysis” of 60,000 public comments. But committee chair Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said some 53,000 of the comments were a mass mailing supporting the waiver, and Johnson’s position is weak. “When history is written, I think they’ll look back on your tenure as a missed opportunity,” she said. “And that’s the nicest way I could put it.” Oh, snap! Boxer has introduced legislation to force a decision by Sept. 30, and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has threatened to sue if no decision comes by mid-October. Johnson, whose next move is eagerly awaited by 12 other states ready to follow California’s lead, has said he’ll lay down the law by the end of the year.