12:40 PM: Governor Jim Douglas (R-VT) is up, describing Vermont's decision to enact the CA standards and its warming-impacts rationale. Focuses on impact on maples and tourism, notes that the environment largely is their economy in Vermont. He notes that Mass v EPA approved of partial solutions to global warming and auto emissions were part of it.
EPA's denial letter focused on belief that a national approach was preferrable. This assertion is legally irrelevant under Section 209. Also notes misleading information about the relative impact vs. CAFE standards. EPA's "compelling and extraordinary" finding ignores legislative intent of Congress, and decades of agency precedent.
12:42 PM: Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley (D) is focusing on federalism-- this is American tradition, and this was part of the deal struck when the Clean Air Act was passed. His state and others, based on scientific evidence, acted under that, and EPA has arbitrarily decided to violate that compact. This amounts to EPA saying to the states "How dare you make greater progress against climate change than we're making?"
12:50 PM: Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA) is on now, talking about Pennsylvania's impacts and its contributions to GHG pollution. If PA could use the CA standards rather than just CAFE, it could save a huge amount of pollution, as well as cut gasoline costs for the state's consumers. EPA's decision doesn't make sense, and industry can certainly adapt.
12:55 PM: Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox (R) is up, disagreeing with the others. California's program would be unique and unprecedented, letting it regulate a solution based on its own needs. He believes in states' rights, and issues not fundamentally national in scope should be delegated to states; conversely, anything with more impact should have national standards. He appreciates California's unique history and leadership, but notes that the waiver process grew out of California's expertise on smog and other pollutants.
According to Cox, Congress never intended for California to regulate anything that was non-specific to it. He says that the waiver was designed to address global climate change, and this is national and international by definition (Editor's note: didn't California's application focus on addressing the local impacts of climate change, including on pollution problems, not addressing global climate change itself?) He adds that California becoming a de facto national standard is actually contrary to federalism, and that it fails to account in a "meaningful" way for costs, especially to states like Michigan.
12:57 PM: Cox adds that we should act cautiously in wake of economic difficulty as of late. As he continues on, Boxer remarks he's a minute over the limit. He wraps up that CAFE should be given time to work; rather than criticizing EPA, Congress should embrace its national policy-making role.
1 PM: Doug Haaland, who works for the California GOP's state assembly caucus (he's not an elected representative), is testifying to provide a minority view from the state. He's proud of the work the state has done to clean its air, but says that Johnson's decision is proper responding to a "process that has spun out of control in California." The state's air quality regulations are an "unprecedented expansion of government power" in this area, and he particularly singles out the costs in light of the AB32 regulatory scheme for capping greenhouse gases.
He thinks the state doesn't have "compelling and extraordinary conditions;" 15 states imposing technically-problematic regulations will not have any impact on the global phenomenon. It will be cancelled out by coal plant emissions from Iowa and China anyway. The regulatory process is good, but out of control again, and thus undermined by what CA has enacted. Yes, states will be forced to have 2 choices, but one is feasible and one is not.
1:06 PM: Boxer is speaking, encouraging the governors and knocking Haaland's and Johnson's diminishing of majority support for the decision. She closes with a letter from EPA union officials decrying the agency's diminished reputation from the waiver decision; they were so excited when Johnson was appointed, and by his testimony, but he has now violated those principles and the agency's principles of scientific integrity. There is now a "dark cloud" over future EPA decisions' validity while its under his leadership-- the impact on employee morale has been "devastating" and is reminiscent of the days under one of President Reagan's EPA administrators when employees quit in record numbers.
Boxer encourages these people to not leave, and keep fighting.
1:11 PM: Senator Lautenberg is addressing Cox and Haaland-- he feels for the auto industry, and actually wants to get on with reviving it through new, cleaner cars. Haaland may feel things aren't so bad in CA that this needs to be done, but everyone else disagrees, and whatever China does is not an excuse. He also praises Rendell for working on light rail to reduce dependence on cars altogether, gets him to elaborate; both agree that without a better focus on transportation and public transit, we can't solve this all.
Regarding EPA's decision, its bureaucratic nonesense with "no basis under the law."
1:17 PM: Cox interjected that he might "dump the problem on others" if he was in Rendell's shoes, too. Rendell says that would be true if they were doing nothing about other sources, i.e. mercury from coal-fired plants, but they are. By the way, the industry has been saying it would be doomed by everything else historically, including airbags. Boxer pleads with them to refocus on the waiver.
1:22 PM: Cardin is up again, talking about the urgency for MD in terms of sea-level rise, to lead on Governor O'Malley. O'Malley says that insurance companies aren't insuring properties along the Chesapeake Bay, cites report saying that this is a factor in why the bay isn't recovering from pollution and soon might be "irreparably damaged." The bay is also warming, impacting seagrasses and oysters.
1:26 PM: Sanders reiterates "tripartisan" agreement that the waiver decision was wrong (including among VT's state officials). He asks Douglas why these states should be able to act on their own, and about economic dislocation vs. University of Vermont studies about job-creating potential of moving forward.
First. why didn't they wait and why state standards? Douglas cites federalism precedent, Vermont court ruling that upheld this after a 16-day trial. They didn't wait because the region around them is moving further through RGGI caps, and because there is indeed job-creating potential to become the "Green Valley."
1:33 PM: Klobuchar is last before closiing statements. She asks Governor Rendell for advice to Minnesota regarding economic opportunities. Rendell uses this to say all governors recognize they need to move into new realms, including Granholm in MI, and mentions manufactiring-job-potential of wind energy in particular.
Klobuchar now delves into past waivers, such as with the catalytic converter, that weren't necessarily unique problems but were granted. Michigan AG Cox reiterates what Section 209 (b) says about "compelling and extraordinary"-- its not extraordinary for California if its not just them. Similarly, even though Klobuchar might think Lake Superior's levels are falling from climate change and that impacts Minnesota, they share the lake with Michigan, and therefore it wouldn't be extraordinary for Minnesota.
O'Malley chimes in at Klobuchar's prodding, and says he finds that standard ridiculous. Also regarding the China excuse, would we not do anything about human rights because they aren't? Same logic here should apply.
1:40 PM: Closing statements. Haaland responds to O'Malley and says his analogy is wrong, and that indeed Congress disagreed with Kyoto along those lines. Cox says this is a basic constitutional question to him, and that with respect to Boxer and others' assertions of expert support, John Dingell has written all major environmental legislation and he'd disagree.
Rendell is brief, thanking them for giving him time to spotlight their leadership. Douglas seconds him and reiterates that this is the wrong legal decision, and contrary to the findings of courts on both sides of the country. O'Malley says they will continue to stand together as states-- the Supreme Court has said they have the power to do this, has rebuked the feds for not doing enough, and he trusts the courts will overturn EPA here.
1:47 PM: Boxer closes the panel by correcting Haaland and Cox. Congress might have been saying no to Kyoto and citing China a decade ago, but they were wrong and have learned otherwise. She adds that Cox should read over Mass. v. EPA again, and note that it says clearly that CO2 pollution is part of the Clean Air Act-- if that's the case, why shouldn't that definition extend to state waiver process?
Also, her constituents in Silicon Valley tell her that if government regulation and investment are present, they will be met with unprecedented entrepreneurial mobilization, dwarfing the communications and information-technology revolutions. This is the economy of the future!