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O'Malley Attacks EPA Greenhouse Gas Decision

"I find this decision . . . shameful, outrageous and irresponsible," Gov. O'Malley said yesterday at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing. (By Marvin Joseph -- The Washington Post)
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Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) asked whether "bold action" was needed to reverse warming. Johnson said there should be "action."

" Bold action?" Sanders asked.

"As I said, action," Johnson replied.

Johnson's decision on the California waiver is causing controversy because of a quirk in U.S. air pollution policy. For many years, California officials were able to set more stringent standards for other pollutants, as long as the EPA granted permission. In dozens of previous instances, it had.

In this instance, Johnson denied California's request, despite advice from EPA staff. Aides wrote in a PowerPoint presentation that the EPA is "likely to lose suit" if California's waiver is rejected.

On Jan. 2, the EPA was sued by California and 15 other states.

Governors from three of those states -- O'Malley, Pennsylvania's Edward G. Rendell (D) and Vermont's Jim Douglas (R) -- participated in yesterday's hearing.

In Maryland, O'Malley said, potential harms of climate change could include sea-level rise and the loss of heat-sensitive grasses in the Chesapeake Bay. He told the panel that there is a demand in his state for faster action.

"The people of Maryland do not understand why on earth would we not do this before the Chesapeake Bay is irreparably damaged," he said.

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