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Senate panel rejects EPA air ruling

Agency had blocked state push to curb cars' greenhouse emissions.

May 22, 2008|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A Senate panel voted narrowly Wednesday to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency's decision blocking California and more than a dozen other states from limiting greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

The bill by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, passed her panel by a vote of 10 to 9.

One committee Democrat, Sen. Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, broke with his side of the aisle and opposed the measure, while Sen. John W. Warner of Virginia, a Republican, voted for it, allowing the bill to pass.

In December, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson turned down California's request for a Clean Air Act waiver that would have allowed the state to require that automakers cut global warming emissions by 30% in new cars and light trucks by 2016.

Boxer's bill would deem the waiver approved.

"This bill merely does what the Clean Air Act required to do in the first place," Boxer said.

However, Boxer said that she wouldn't push for full Senate consideration of the legislation because President Bush would veto it. Plus the Senate already has a busy schedule, she said, including planned consideration in June of global warming legislation that her committee is writing.

Still, "This shows that the environment committee, on a bipartisan vote, stood up for the California waiver," Boxer said.

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