DOT officials lobbied against California’s vehicle-emission standards, Waxman says
According to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Bush administration has been quietly lobbying members of Congress and state governors to oppose California’s strict greenhouse-gas emissions rules for cars. In December 2005, the state submitted a request to the U.S. EPA for a waiver it needs to implement its standards. Since then, the EPA has been stalling, promising a ruling that’s been nearly two years in the making. Waxman’s committee uncovered emails between officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation and the White House Council on Environmental Quality and conducted interviews of DOT staff, all of which he says point to a concerted campaign approved by the White House and led by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters to gather opposition to California’s standards. In a letter to the CEQ demanding a condemnation of the lobbying, Waxman wrote, “The administration is trying to stack the deck against California’s efforts to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from motor vehicles. It suggests that political considerations — not the merits of the issue — will determine how EPA acts.” California’s pending standards would cut greenhouse gases from new cars by nearly 30 percent by 2016; 11 other states have adopted California’s rules, but no one can act on them until California’s waiver is granted.