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Pelosi to EPA Administrator: Decision on California Waiver Will be Closely Scrutinized by Congress

Washington, D.C. — Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent the following letter today to Stephen L. Johnson, Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency concerning his agency's decision this week to deny the Clean Air Act waiver requested by the state of California.

“The actions of the EPA in denying the California request cannot help but raise serious questions about the support of the Bush Administration for state efforts to safeguard the environment and the health of their residents,” wrote the Speaker, who spoke with Johnson yesterday. “As we discussed, your decision will be challenged immediately in the courts and will be carefully scrutinized by the Congress as well.”

Below is a text of the letter:

December 21, 2007

Stephen L. Johnson, Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460-0001

Dear Mr. Johnson:

Thank you for your telephone call yesterday concerning your decision Wednesday to deny the Clean Air Act waiver requested by the state of California. While I would have appreciated notification of the decision prior to the public announcement, I welcome having the chance to talk with you directly about it.

As I stated in our conversation, I vigorously disagree with your rationale for that decision and I strongly support the inquiry into your decision-making process announced by Congressman Henry Waxman, the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In particular, I find implausible your inference that the passage this week of the “Energy Independence and Security Act” eliminated the need for the waiver requested by California. Surely you and others in the Bush Administration were aware that the Congress rejected requests from the Administration to waive the Environmental Protection Agency's longstanding authority to regulate emissions and to grant states waivers under the Clean Air Act. Citing the passage of our new law as a justification for denying California's request defies the legislative history as well as the explicit language of the “Energy Independence and Security Act.”

I reiterate my request that you and your staff respond quickly and completely to all of Chairman Waxman's requests for documents related to this controversial decision which, according to press reports, was contrary to the advice of EPA's professional scientific and legal staff.

The actions of the EPA in denying the California request cannot help but raise serious questions about the support of the Bush Administration for state efforts to safeguard the environment and the health of their residents. As we discussed, your decision will be challenged immediately in the courts and will be carefully scrutinized by the Congress as well. I look forward to your complete cooperation and that of other members of the Bush Administration.

best regards,

NANCY PELOSI
Speaker of the House

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