Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Jerry Brown: EPA can be "hero" or "villian" on global warming decision

An interesting piece by Copley News Service: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/state/20070522-1350-cnsepa.html

Some excerpts:

By Dana Wilkie

COPLEY NEWS SERVICE

May 22, 2007

ARLINGTON, Va. – Saying the nation's top environmental officer will be “a hero or a villain” depending on how he rules, California Attorney General Jerry Brown on Tuesday laid out his state's case for strict vehicle emission standards during the federal government's first public forum on the matter.

In a hearing packed with charts, graphics, statistics and photos of melting Icelandic ice sheets, Brown argued that his state and 11 others need permission to enact tough tailpipe emission standards if they hope to curb the greenhouse gases believed to be a culprit in increasing floods, wildfires and other climate-related changes.

“Together we represent one-third of the population of the United States, and the people of our 12 states want to act now to combat global warming,” Brown told a panel of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency staffers.

He later told reporters that EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, a Bush appointee and 26-year veteran of the agency, should focus on the facts of California's case rather than on his political connections.

"He (Johnson) is the one man in the country who can do the most to attack global warming,” Brown said. “He can be a hero or a villain.” ...

Tuesday's hearing marked the state's first opportunity to present its case to the federal government in a public forum. A second hearing is planned in Sacramento for May 30.

“It gives them an opportunity to at last say, 'The science and the law are on our side, now what are you going to do about it?' “ said Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, which supports the tougher standards.

EPA spokesman John Millett said the agency is “moving forward expeditiously and responsibly with – reviewing California's request.”

“EPA will review the public's comments in order to make a sound decision on the waiver request,” Millett said.

O'Donnell, like others, predicted that because President Bush opposes mandatory caps on gas emissions, the EPA is unlikely to approve California's request, which would set the stage for a near-certain lawsuit from the state.

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