New federal legislation would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to grant or deny California\u2019s \u201cwaiver\u201d request to enforce a 2002 vehicle greenhouse gas emissions law by the end of September. The legislation, S 1785 by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), aims to force EPA administrator Stephen Johnson--repeatedly accused by legislators of foot dragging--to decide on the waiver issue well before the end of this year. Johnson previously stated he would decide the matter by the end of June 2007. This week, he said a decision would not come before late December. \u201cIt is inexcusable to wait two years,\u201d complained Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) during a July 26 Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meeting. \u201cIf ever there was a bipartisan issue, this is the one,\u201d added Boxer, the committee chair. Nelson said his motivation for the legislation was to relieve political gridlock. During his testimony before the Senate committee, the Florida Democrat pointed out that S 1735 \u201callows states to set standards higher than those set at the federal level. Read: \u2018states rights.\u2019\u201d Senator James Inofe (R-OK), Johnson\u2019s sole defender, asserted that California\u2019s waiver should be denied because the state is cooling rather than warming. He added that \u201crushing\u201d a decision on the matter would be \u201carbitrary and capricious.\u201d The Democratic senators on the committee accused Johnson of doing the bidding of the Bush administration, which has vigorously opposed state actions to cut greenhouse gases. Johnson provided only evasive answers to the committee\u2019s pointed questions, stating his responses were to the \u201cbest of his recollection.\u201d Granting the waiver would slash carbon emissions by 64 million metric tons by 2020, which is the equivalent of taking 12 million cars off the road, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) added.