Douglas, Sanders challenge EPA decision

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas is teaming up with Senator Bernie Sanders against the Bush administration.

They say the administration is blocking the state’s fight on global warming.

VPR’s Eric Niiler reports.

(Niiler) Twenty states led by California want to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

Vermont is one of them.

But the Environmental Protection Agency refuses to give the states permission.

EPA administrator Stephen Johnson told the Senate Environment Committee that climate change is a global problem that cannot be addressed at the state level.

(Johnson) “Greenhouse gas emissions harm the environment in California and elsewhere, regardless where the emissions occur. I therefore indicated that, in my view, California doesn’t have a need for its own state standard to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions.”

(Niiler) Johnson says the nation needs to have a unified strategy against global warming.

On hearing those words, Vermont Independent Senator Sanders could barely contain his anger. Sanders said that states are forced to act on their own because the federal government isn’t doing anything.

(Sanders)“If you can’t go forward, at least get out of the way! In Vermont, we take the environment seriously. We are an outdoor state. We want to see our streams, our lake kept clean.”

(Niiler) Vermont Governor Douglas added that rising temperatures hurt not only the state’s environment but also its economy

(Douglas)“In Vermont, climate change could produce a shorter ski season, allow intrusion of warmer climate tree species, which would replace the current mix of hardwoods, which produce our spectacular fall foliage, and result in the dramatic change in the quality and quantity of maple sap.”

(Niiler) Senator Sanders is pushing a bill to reverse the EPA decision.

For VPR News, I’m Eric Niiler on Capitol Hill.


AP Photo/Dennis Cook

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