If you thought the Bush administration was just going to let California move ahead with its pioneering greenhouse gas emissions capping legislation without a word or sign of obstruction, you had another thing coming. Newly released documents have revealed that the U.S. Department of Transportation was actively trying to squash the state's proposed cap by lobbying key congressmen to vote against it.
The documents, consisting of over 70 pages of e-mails and memos, showed agency officials working in concert with the Auto Alliance - a trade group representing the interests of several big auto firms - to aggressively target legislators Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Texas, Missouri, Delaware and Tennessee most likely to oppose the cap. "Just hit the members/senators with the really big facilities. No need to call those with small distribution centers or anything," Simon Gros, deputy chief of staff to Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, told his staff in a June 7 e-mail.The documents came to light after Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles), the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman, requested them upon suspecting foul play on the part of the DOT. "This initial set of documents reveals that the Bush administration was working hand in glove with the auto industry against state efforts to fight global warming," said Waxman on Monday.
Several other prominent California lawmakers, including Sen. Barbara Boxer and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, have weighed in on the issue, expressing anger and disbelief over the administration's political meddling. D.J. Gribbin, DOT's General Counsel, defended the agency's actions by claiming they didn't violate anti-lobbying restrictions: "DOT's interest in informing the public and their elected representatives about this important issue is consistent with its longstanding and well-known support of a single, national regulatory scheme for motor vehicle fuel economy."
Speaker Nunez best summed up the federal agency's actions with a few pithy words: "Dirty tricks." We couldn't agree more.
Via ::Red Orbit News: Smog Fighters Furious at Bush Administration (news website)
See also: ::Economic Impact Of California Climate Plan In Line With Stern Report, ::California To Pass Emissions Caps: A "Bottom-Up Approach to Global Warming", ::A Bush Administration Policy Adjustment