WASHINGTON The U.S. Congress will closely
examine the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to deny
California's request to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from
vehicles, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives said
The EPA on Wednesday denied California's attempt to place
first-ever U.S. limits on automobile emissions of heat-trapping
gases, which account for about 30 percent of the U.S. total.
The decision, lauded by the auto industry and pilloried by
environmental groups, also stymies 16 other U.S. states'
attempts to enact similar rules.
"Your decision will be challenged immediately in the courts
and will be carefully scrutinized by the Congress as well,"
Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, wrote to EPA administrator
California said it will quickly appeal the decision.
"Administrator Johnson stands behind his decision," an EPA
spokeswoman said. "Greenhouse gas emissions are global in
nature and California is not exclusive in facing this
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee,
chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman, California Democrat, this week
opened a panel probe into the agency's decision and told the
EPA to preserve all papers and documents in the case record.
"Your decision appears to have ignored the evidence before
the agency and the requirements of the Clean Air Act," Waxman
wrote to Johnson, noting that the decision went against agency
staff recommendations to grant the waiver.
The EPA will cooperate with Waxman's investigation, the
agency spokeswoman said.
The EPA said an energy bill signed into law this week by
President George W. Bush means no further action is needed to
cut carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles.
The EPA, charged with making the decision, said the law to
raise automobile fuel standards by 40 percent by 2020 was a
"better approach" than a "patchwork" of state rules.
"I vigorously disagree with your rationale for that
decision and I strongly support the inquiry (by Waxman's
committee) into your decision-making process," Pelosi wrote.
California needed the EPA waiver to implement a law it
passed this year to force automakers to make vehicles that cut
emissions 25 percent by the 2009 model year.
(Reporting by Chris Baltimore, editing by Matthew Lewis)