The U.S. EPA has denied California the waiver it needed to enact a state law requiring a 30 percent reduction in vehicle greenhouse-gas emissions by 2016. Said EPA chief Stephen Johnson, “The Bush administration is moving forward with a clear national solution — not a confusing patchwork of state rules — to reduce America’s climate footprint from vehicles.” But that decision was at odds with the unanimous recommendation of EPA’s legal and technical teams. The agency had delayed so long on making the decision that California sued to get ’em to hurry up, obviously hoping for a different outcome. Sixteen other states would have adopted California’s regulations had the EPA OK’d the waiver; they still may get the chance, as California Attorney General Jerry Brown is none too pleased with the decision. “There is absolutely no legal justification for the Bush administration to deny this request,” he says. “Gov. Schwarzenegger and I are preparing to sue at the earliest possible moment.” It’s a suit that even EPA’s lawyers think the agency will lose.
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