December 21, 2007

STATEMENT FROM SENATORS CARDIN AND MIKULSKI ON EPA BLOCKING OF HIGHER EMISSION STANDARDS BY STATES LIKE MARYLAND

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (Both D-MD) issued the following joint statement following the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) move to block Maryland and other states from acting to cut emissions of global warming gasses from cars and trucks:

" We are outraged by the decision of the Bush Administration and EPA Administrator Steven Johnson to block clean-car regulations. 

"The career scientists and lawyers of EPA recommended that the new clean-car regulations go forward, but the Bush Administration and Administrator Johnson chose to ignore the expert advice they had been given and the clean air rights of millions of Americans.  Johnson has violated the basic mission of the EPA to protect human health and the environment. 

"The so-called California waiver would allow Maryland, California and 11 other states to cut the greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks.  Johnson's decision to deny the waiver represents the first time that the EPA has denied such a petition in more than 50 instances. It is an outrage.  We have waited with increasing impatience for more than two years as the EPA failed to act on the request.  States across the country, including Maryland, have taken strong actions to protect the health of their citizens while this Administration has been doing nothing but dragging its feet. 

"The Environment and Public Works Committee held two full committee hearings devoted exclusively to this issue and another devoted to the relevant Supreme Court cases.  We have heard from Administrator Johnson, but the Committee also heard compelling testimony from two previous EPA Administrators as well as scientists and others about the need for the new regulations.

"The Bush Administration and Administrator Johnson are wrong if they think that this decision will be overlooked as America turns its attention to the holidays.  Their decision is supported by neither science nor the law.  We intend to make sure that the people of Maryland and the nation get the clean air protection they deserve.  We will be holding Administrator Johnson responsible for this action when the Senate reconvenes.  We will not rest until this decision is reversed, either by the Bush Administration or by the courts." 

Senator Cardin is a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee Senator Mikulski is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.