Dems: White House Forced EPA's Hand

The House Committee on Oversight and Government on Monday charged that the White House was behind a controversial decision, made by the Environmental Protection Agency, to deny California the opportunity to implement its own climate change legislation. The committee released a staff-created Power Point presentation that has previously been reported to exist, but which the administration had largely kept from public view.

The presentation speaks in generally favorable terms about California's proposal, despite the EPA's ultimate decision. "The clearest and most defensible option is to grant the waiver. The other options have high to very high vulnerability to legal challenge," reads a version of the presentation obtained by the committee.

In a memo to members of the committee, the majority reports that "the career staff at EPA unanimously supported granting California's petition." It also finds that "Stephen Johnson, the Administrator of EPA, also supported granting California's petition at least in part" and that he "reversed his position after communications with officials in the White House."

California sought to regulate vehicle carbon emissions more strictly than the federal government and other states had agreed in advance to adopt those guidelines, as long as it received EPA approval.