House panel says EPA withholding info on California emissions waiver rejection

[JURIST] US House Government Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) [official website] accused the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] Monday of withholding information from the committee and threatened to take action to compel production of the requested information connected to the EPA's decision to turn down California's greenhouse gas emissions waiver request. In a letter [PDF text] to the head of the PA, Waxman said:

I appreciate the efforts EPA has taken to collect responsible documents, but I am concerned about the failure of the agency to produce requested documents to the Committee. Therefore, I ask that your staff work with Committee staff to establish by the close of business on March 12, 2008, a mutually agreeable deadline for the production of the specifically requested documents, as well as the remaining documents involving the White House and the Department of Justice. If no acceptable voluntary schedule is established, I anticipate taking steps to require production of the documents.
The US House Government Oversight Committee is probing whether the EPA improperly denied a greenhouse emissions waiver [rejection letter, PDF; JURIST report] to California, which is seeking to introduce higher greenhouse emission standards than those mandated by federal law.

In December 2007, the EPA denied California's waiver request, with EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson saying that a unified national standard for greenhouse gas regulation was preferable to a state-by-state network of regulations and pointing to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 [HR 6 materials; WH fact sheet], signed into law that month by President George W. Bush. California filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in January to challenge the denial. Last month, the EPA issued an official explanation [JURIST report] of its decision to deny California's waiver request. Also last month, internal EPA documents [press release and excerpts] revealed that agents with the EPA urged Johnson to approve the waiver request [JURIST report]. AP has more.

 

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