"California met every criteria . . . on the merits. The same criteria we have used for the last 40 years on all the other waivers," said an EPA staffer. "We told him that. All the briefings we have given him laid out the facts."The good news, at least according to LA Times legal writer David Savage in a separate piece, is that California is likely to win its court challenge.
....Technical and legal staff also concluded that if the waiver were denied, EPA would very likely lose in court to the state, the sources said....They advised him to either grant the waiver outright or give California a temporary one for three years.
Instead, three sources said, Johnson cut off any consultation with his technical staff for the last month and made his decision before having them write the formal, legal justification for it.