LAWFUEL – The Law News Wire – Top California officials implored federa…

LAWFUEL – The Law News Wire – Top California officials implored federal environmental regulators Tuesday for permission to unilaterally impose reductions on greenhouse gases from cars and other vehicles. An auto industry official dismissed the state’s approach as “counterproductive,” Associated Press report.

If California gets the federal waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency that it needs to implement its emissions law, at least 11 other states are prepared to follow its lead.

“This is more important than any issue that EPA’s going to have to face,” California Attorney General Jerry Brown told an EPA air quality hearing board.

Brown asked the regulators to relay a message to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.

“We want him to speak truth to power,” said Brown. “There is a tremendous influence of the oil industry. We know (Vice President) Cheney and (President) Bush are oilmen, they think like oil folks. … We say grant the waiver.”

The EPA panel that gathered in suburban Arlington, Va., was led by Margo Oge, director of EPA’s office of transportation and air quality. She gave no indication of how the agency might be leaning as a daylong hearing got under way.

At issue is a 2002 California law that requires automakers to cut emissions by 25 percent from cars and light trucks and 18 percent from sport utility vehicles starting with the 2009 model year. The law can’t take effect unless California gets a federal waiver.

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