[JURIST] California will appeal the decision by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] to deny its request for a waiver [JURIST report] that would have allowed it and 16 other states following its lead to impose stricter greenhouse gas emissions standards on cars and light trucks, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced [press statement, text] Thursday. Also Thursday, Congressional Democrats announced that they would begin a probe into whether the EPA decision was politically motivated. In a letter [PDF text] sent Thursday to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) [official website] questioned whether the agency ignored evidence in rejecting the California waiver request and asked that all documents relating to the request be turned over to the committee. AP has more.
On Wednesday, Johnson told reporters that the White House prefers a single unified national standard to a state-by-state network of regulations, and pointed to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 [HR 6 materials; WH fact sheet], signed into law Wednesday by President George W. Bush. This is the first time that the EPA has denied California a waiver since Congress established the state's right to seek Clean Air Act (CAA) waivers in 1967.