Cheney accused of blocking Californian bid to cut car fumes

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The US vice-president, Dick Cheney, was behind a controversial decision to block California’s attempt to impose tough emission limits on car manufacturers, according to insiders at the government Environmental Protection Agency.

Staff at the agency, which announced last week that California’s proposed limits were redundant, said the agency’s chief went against their expert advice after car executives met Cheney, and a Chrysler executive delivered a letter to the EPA saying why the state should not be allowed to regulate greenhouse gases.

EPA staff members told the Los Angeles Times that the agency’s head, the Bush appointee Stephen Johnson, ignored their conclusions and shut himself off from consultation in the month before the announcement.

He then informed them of his decision and instructed them to provide the legal rationale for it, they said.

‘California met every criteria … on the merits,’ an anonymous member of the EPA staff told the Times. ‘The same criteria we have used for the last 40 years … We told him that. All the briefings we have given him laid out the facts.’

In an editorial, the New York Times described the decision as, ‘an indefensible act of executive arrogance that can only be explained as the product of ideological blindness and as a political payoff to the automobile industry‘.”

(Via Guardian Unlimited)