Democrat Claims Feds Meddling in Calif. Emissions Waiver Request

Congressman Henry Waxman says an executive branch official lobbied at least one House member to oppose California's greenhouse gas emissions law.

The Democratic House chairman is deeming the contact improper and wants an explanation.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is considering whether to grant California a waiver it needs to put in place a state law that would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from cars and 18 percent from sport utility vehicles, beginning in 2009.

If California gets the waiver, eleven other states are ready to follow its lead and implement the same controls.

The EPA is taking public comment until June 15th. The agency has refused to indicate whether it will grant the waiver.

Waxman serves as chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The California Democrat says a Transportation
Department official left a voicemail message for an aide to at least one member of Congress asking if the lawmaker might want to weigh in with EPA against the waiver request.

Waxman says the call was an improper use of federal resources to
lobby a member of Congress to oppose state efforts on the environment, especially since the waiver request is pending before
another Bush administration agency.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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