Welch confronts EPA over emissions regulations

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(Host) Democrats in Congress are angry that an effort by California, Vermont and a dozen other states to clean up car emissions has been blocked by the Bush administration.

The Environmental Protection Agency refused to give California permission to adopt tougher tailpipe emission standards. Vermont and the other states want to enforce the same rules.

Congressman Peter Welch says EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson caved in to political pressure from the White House.

(Welch) "Mr. Johnson, the head of the EPA, at a staff meeting in September said we should get the waiver. Then he started leaning toward the waiver. Then the next thing you know he goes to the White House. He comes back and he says he’s against the waiver and denies it.”

(Host) Welch confronted Johnson about the EPA’s decision at a congressional hearing earlier this week.

Johnson refused to say whether he’d spoken to the president or White House staff about the state emission standards.

Welch has proposed a bill that would overturn the EPA’s decision. It’s tied up in committee. A Senate committee has recommended adopting the bill.

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