The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing today on the EPA's denial of California's waiver claim to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. This was the first time EPA Administrator Johnson answered questions on how he made his decision to deny the waiver. Documents received by the EPW Committee show that EPA officials recommended to Johnson that California be granted a waiver if the state had "compelling and extraordinary conditions." Johnson, however, ignored the recommendation and declared that California would not receive the waiver based on the fact that there were no "compelling and extraordinary conditions."

Almost all the Democratic members of the EPW committee attended the hearing, but on the minority side only Senator Inhofe was there. The Democratic Senators grilled Johnson in an effort to get him to step on his own feet and admit his waiver decision was wrong. Senator Whitehouse really scrutinized him, questioning the process which Johnson undertook to reach his decision. He kept reminding the Administrator that he was under oath, in an attempt to rattle him; however, Johnson did not waiver in his responses to the questions.

Legal action is underway and, according to experts, it appears that the EPA will likely lose the battle and the waiver will eventually be granted.