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Boxer Wants Answers From EPA Over Emissions Standards Delays

In Washington lawmakers are trying to speed up California's effort to enact stricter tailpipe emissions from cars. Democrats accuse the Bush Administration of dragging its feet on approving the plan.

Boxer Wants Answers From EPA Over Emissions Standards Delays

In Washington lawmakers are trying to speed up California's effort to enact stricter tailpipe emissions from cars. Democrats accuse the Bush Administration of dragging its feet on approving the plan. Todd Zwillich has more from Capitol Hill.

A 2002 California law requires car and truck manufacturers to cut tailpipe emissions 30 percent by 2016.

The cuts are supposed to start with the 2009 model year. But they require a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency to go into effect. So far, the EPA hasn't granted one.

A new bill could change that. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both Democrats, signed onto a measure that would force EPA to make a quick decision on the waiver.

But the bill may not come in time to stave off a major lawsuit. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is threatening to sue the Bush Administration over the matter. Eleven other states have similar waivers waiting in line after California's.

Boxer chairs the Senate Environment Committee . She's called EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson before the panel next week to explain the delays in a decision for California.

From Washington, I'm Todd Zwillich for KPBS Radio.