Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger held a press conference in Sacramento Thursday to announce his plans to sue the national government.  (Source: Rich Pedroncelli / AP)
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California try to force the U.S. government to terminate greenhouse gases with a big suit

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) had harsh words for the federal government and President Bush on Thursday over their failure to take global warming seriously enough.  Gov. Schwarzenegger announced that the state of California is pursuing major legal action against the federal government.

The issue heated up when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected a proposal by California, Wednesday.  The Californian proposal requested to be allowed a waiver so it could cut its own emissions at a faster rate than the new Federal guidelines, signed into law on Wednesday.  California would need such a waiver to override the national plan and pursue its own more aggressive cuts.  EPA chief Stephen Johnson announced the decision Wednesday, which drew a firestorm of criticism from California's government.

President Bush on Thursday defended the move, arguing, "Is it more effective to let each state make a decision as to how to proceed in curbing greenhouse gases? Or is it more effective to have a national strategy?"

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger escalated the war of words with the Bush administration, on Thursday holding a press conference, and saying of the decision, "It's another example of the administration's failure to treat global warming with the seriousness that it actually demands.  Anything less than aggressive action on the greatest environmental threat of all time is inexcusable."

The National plan signed into law calls for fuel efficiency to be raised 40 percent by 2020, up to 35 miles per gallon average.  California's plan calls for 30 percent emissions cuts by 2016 and an average fuel efficiency increase to a whopping 43.7 miles per gallon for passenger cars and some SUVs and trucks, and 26.9 MPG for large vehicles.

California's plan was gaining popularity nationwide, with 16 states adopting it or pledging to.

Gov. Schwarzenegger expressed his frustration at lack of discipline in its environmental policies.  He vowed to whip the government into shape with legal action.

The lawsuit was launched Thursday with a 16-page complaint from the Californian Attorney General Jerry Brown's office.  Brown's representative announced that Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington planned to join California in the suit against the feds.  Colorado, Florida and Utah wish to adopt California's plan but have not yet pledged to support the suit.

President Bush and the governor of this nation's highest populous state have long held an icy relationship due to the President's environmental policies and refusal to fund embryonic stem cell research.  An aide described this divide, saying "Even during the re-election campaign for the president, he would come to California and the governor wouldn't always be there to greet him."

California holds special status under the Clean Air Act, as the only state that can specially request the EPA to allow it to enact its own regulations.  However, the EPA does not have to approve these requests, as it demonstrated Wednesday.  As the suit heats up in coming months it should be an interesting bipartisan battle over the issue as it is drudged through the federal legal system.

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