EPA staff backed Calif. pollution waiver

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Newly released documents show that EPA officials supported California’s request for a waiver allowing the state to reduce vehicle emissions.

EPA officials said that California has “compelling and extraordinary conditions” to justify rules that would have required automakers to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent within eight years.

But EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson denied the state’s request for a waiver last month. And at least 16 other states, including Vermont, were also blocked from implementing emissions rules.

An environmental committee headed by Democratic California Senator Barbara Boxer is investigating Johnson’s decision and has called him to testify at a hearing tomorrow.

The EPA says Johnson stands by his decision.

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