Foreign Policy Blogs

The Present Administration and Some Hopefuls for the Next

EPA's Unpopular Decision , I wrote earlier this month, here, about the lawsuit against EPA for denying California's request for a waiver to institute carbon dioxide requirements for motor vehicles sold in that state.  Since, the EPA announcement and the lawsuit, there's been a flurry of activity investigating this decision.  The final call by the EPA Administrator, Stephen Johnson, appears to have flown pretty much full in the face of what staff had recommended.  A story from the "LA Times" at the time of the denial in December, EPA chief is said to have ignored staff, reported an unnamed EPA staffer involved with the waiver process as saying:  "California met every criteria . . . on the merits."  The "S.F. Chronicle" had further reporting on this yesterday:  Behind EPA's rejection of state emission rules.  They report "Newly released documents show that Environmental Protection Agency staff members made a strong case that California should be allowed to proceed with its first-in-the-nation greenhouse gas regulations – arguments that the agency's chief, Stephen Johnson, ultimately overruled." 

The House of Representatives and the Senate have both been investigating this.  On the House Side, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair, Henry Waxman, from California, initiated an inquiry right away.  See this for the status of the inquiry.  Over in the Senate, Environment & Public Works Chair, Barbara Boxer, also a Californian, has been at this full-tilt boogie, including the introduction of a bill yesterday mandating the reversal of the EPA decision.  Cosponsors of the bill include the two Republican senators from Maine.  Go here for a slew of recent releases from Boxer on this issue. 

Johnson faced the music yesterday in the Senate.  He was apparently not well received.  Here is a link to yesterday's proceedings with testimony, attachments, and video all available.  The Center for American Progress has coverage on this today.  It's not for the faint of heart, though, as they are scathing.  It's fair to say that the CAP, although I find their research thorough and good, based to a great extent on major media reports, is partisan.  The "NY Times" has this today:  E.P.A. Chief Defends His Decision on California.  14 Governors sent a letter to Johnson dated January 23 decrying his decision and three of them testified yesterday as well. 

The GOP Candidates , The A.P. did a nice job of reporting yesterday on the Republican presidential contenders and their views on climate change.  See GOP Hopefuls Split On Global Warming Plans, courtesy of CBS News.  (I've written about the candidates recently here and here.)  Romney and Giuliani, for instance, oppose a cap-and-trade regime.  McCain, very much by contrast with all his Republican colleagues in the race, has been more-than-a-little out in front on climate change.  He cosponsored legislation going back five years addressing the issue. 

Returning to the story on EPA's decision, an editorial in yesterday's "Sacramento Bee," quite an influential paper in California, asked:  Where do candidates stand on clean air waiver?  The Governator apparently told The Bee's editorial page last week, it is "one of the issues that has not been addressed enough" by the candidates.  He knows his state's voters. 



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change