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  • Waxman wins a round in battle over EPA car scandal

    Score one round this morning for Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

    Waxman's panel is among those investigating the Bush administration's decision -- contrary to EPA staff advice -- to reject California's greenhouse-gas standards for vehicles. He wants to interview seven key EPA staffers without the presence of government lawyers, who would be expected to interfere with the questioning.

    The Bush administration has been balking at this request, so Waxman was preparing to ask his committee to vote today to issue subpoenas. But the Bush administration blinked -- at least a little. Waxman announced at a committee meeting this morning that he was postponing a subpoena vote for now, because the Bush administration had agreed to permit two of the seven EPA staffers to be interviewed without government lawyers present. The fate of the other five EPA staffers remains under negotiation.

    This investigation is a little like peeling away layers of a foul-smelling onion: the stench at the center is enough to make one cry.

  • How we can make progress with climate change mitigation

    There's a great deal of buzz in D.C. right now over the prospects of the Lieberman-Warner climate bill. A major environmental group (Environmental Defense) is running radio spots urging congressional passage this year, while a key Lieberman aide has been quoted as saying that the already compromised bill is open for further compromise (if that will get more votes). One issue up for discussion is preemption -- that is, taking away the right of states to limit greenhouse gases.

    With that in mind, it might make sense to consider the views of a genuine eco-battler, my friend Dan Becker, long a Sierra Club activist who waged an often lonely war for years to improve federal fuel economy (CAFE) standards.

  • Boxer releases notes on secret EPA material

    This just in: Sen. Barbara Boxer today released notes her staff took on some of the materials the Bush administration has tried to suppress regarding the decision to reject California's effort to enforce its greenhouse-gas standards for vehicles.

    These documents back up published reports that EPA chief Steve Johnson rejected the advice of his staff. More here.

  • More shenanigans from the EPA on the Cali waiver

    Thurday will be an interesting test of the ability of Congress to crack a Bush administration coverup of a rotten and likely illegal action: its decision to reject California's effort to enforce its greenhouse-gas standards for motor vehicles.

    Sen. Barbara Boxer will put EPA Administrator Steve Johnson in the box to explore not only his indefensible decision, but his efforts to withhold information from Congress and cover up the truth about his pro-car company action.

    You will recall that right before Christmas, Johnson nixed the California request in a hastily called news conference where he tried, dishonestly, to spin his way out of a looming Washington Post exclusive.

    The lies continued last week as the EPA -- on the Friday of a holiday weekend, in an effort to minimize attention -- sent Boxer a letter and portions of various materials she sought. Boxer noted much of the relevant information was "whited out," as EPA Associate Administrator Christopher Bliley literally invoked the Nixon Watergate coverup as justification.