Two clashing versions of the California Air Resources Board decision making were the focus of a packed July 6 hearing delving into the role of the governor\u2019s office in recent departures of Air Board executives. Administration representatives called former Air Board members\u2019 allegations of interference \u201cfiction.\u201d Former Air Board officials claimed the administration wielded undue influence over them. \u201cThere was pressure to ease regulation on business,\u201d Catherine Witherspoon, former Air Board executive director, told the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. \u201cThere was an erosion of boundaries between the Air Board and California Environmental Protection Agency\u201d as well as the administration, she added. Witherspoon quit her post in protest July 2 after Air Board chair Robert Sawyer was fired from his post. \u201cI\u2019m unaware of that level of meddling,\u201d said Eileen Tutt, assistant secretary for climate change activities at CalEPA. \u201cThe characterizations made [by Witherspoon and former chair Sawyer] deserve to be in the fiction section of the bookstore,\u201d said former CalEPA deputy secretary Dan Skopec. He added there\u2019s a \u201cclose coordination\u201d between the administration and the Air Board. \u201cThat\u2019s appropriate,\u201d he said. Skopec said he appeared as a private citizen before the committee after quitting his post June 29 to spend more time with his family, including newborn twins. The Air Board is in charge of enforcing the state\u2019s greenhouse gas reduction law, AB 32, to cut emissions 25 percent by 2020. However, the means to that end are in dispute. Generally, the Democrat-led Legislature has emphasized capping emissions under command-and-control rules. The Republican administration has focused more on a market-based cap-and-trade system. Legislators were clearly frustrated with the administration\u2019s witnesses--or lack thereof. Committee chair Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) railed at the Governor\u2019s office for not sending anyone who was directly involved with the Air Board\u2019s relationship. Under intense questioning, Skopec refused to reveal who in the administration may have prepped him, or even who requested him to appear at the hearing. He claimed he came mostly on his own accord because he was close to Air Board actions. Former Air Board officials noted what they said was an example of the administration\u2019s attempts to force them to cater to business. Sawyer said he was asked to use $5 million of the Air Board\u2019s funds to pay the top-end electric car maker Tesla as an incentive to keep its operations within the state. That money was available, but normally would be dispensed on a competitive basis, not under direct order from the Governor\u2019s office, according to Sawyer. \u201cTesla was just an inquiry,\u201d replied Skopec. He maintained the administration was not leaning on the board.