Warming Law readers should be interested to know that the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has launched an e-campaign inviting readers to comment regarding the California waiver denial on Deputy EPA Administrator Marcus Peacock's blog. UCS' effort to open a dialogue comes in response to Peacock's musings following a less-than-complimentary Washington Post column by Al Kamen-- which knocked him for glossing over substantive issues like GHG emissions standards, and instead riffing on his daily life and the travails of Grammy-nominated singer Amy Winehouse:
But the riff allowed Peacock to muse on the benefits of early intervention. "A good management system . . . forces people to consider how they are doing" and rewards those who "bring bad news early."
That may be why EPA chief Stephen Johnson announced Dec. 20 that he would not grant California, Maryland and a dozen other states a waiver so they could impose tougher mileage standards than automakers want.
EPA staff and lawyers are working feverishly -- at least when they're not reading Peacock's blog -- to justify that decision to Congress by Feb. 15. But at least Johnson got the bad news out early.
Johnson might explain the decision-making rationale by simply paraphrasing Winehouse's hit song about people trying to force her into rehab: "They tried to make me grant a waiver, I said no, no, no."
Kamen was actually rather astute there-- in addition to having indeed released his decision before he had worked up a complete legal rationale, Johnson effectively is now arguing that despite all the factors aligning to compel the waiver, he had the legal authority to re-interpret the law and say "no." But references to Amy Winehouse aside, we are definitely interested to see how this turns out. We attempted something similar regarding this matter during Johnson's "Ask the EPA" online chat this fall, and only heard talking points in return, but perhaps UCS can have better luck; they'll be posting on the results over at their Hybrid Blog in the coming days.