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Businessman Tom Steyer and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the two billionaires in the Democratic primary, have spent far more than the rest of the Democratic hopefuls combined. But Steyer also uses grassroots tactics. What do other candidates and voters think about the influence of money in elections?

Governor and Environmental Groups Fight EPA Denial of CA Waiver

December 21, 2007

Sacramento, CA – The battle over automobile emissions is about to overheat in California. Following enactment of the federal energy bill this week, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency denied California a waiver to enact its own, tougher, tailpipe emission standards. Californians from the governor on down are steamed and say they'll fight the feds.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is vowing to appeal the EPA decision, which also applies to 16 other states. Environmental groups are joining him, saying they are shocked by the EPA's denial. They call it a missed opportunity to allow the states to cut global warming pollution.

Jim Tripp with Environmental Defense says EPA policy should follow the Clean Air Act and allow both federal and state programs. He contends California should not give up the fight.

"What Gov. Schwarzenegger is doing, what the state of California is doing in terms of pioneering transportation fuel technologies is unbelievably important, not only to the state but to the country and to the rest of the world."

The federal energy bill requires all new cars and light trucks to average 35 miles per gallon by 2020. California's greenhouse gas limits would up that to 36 miles per gallon and be in place four years earlier, by 2016.

EPA administrator Stephen Johnson maintains that a national strategy is better than a state-by-state strategy. However, Tripp says Johnson gave California a backhanded compliment.

"On the one hand, the administrator acknowledged this critical pioneering role California has played in this case, and at the same time has emasculated California, has ripped the ground out from under California."

More information is at www.environmentaldefense.com.

Lori Abbott/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - CA