Transportation Department officials sought to mobilize dozens of state and federal lawmakers against California's petition for an EPA waiver to implement its greenhouse gas law, documents released Friday show.
The disclosure follows one two weeks ago that the department left voice mails for lawmakers.
The 71 pages of Transportation Department e-mails and internal memos, released to congressional Democrats, show that as EPA's June 15 comment deadline approached, Transportation Department officials compiled call lists of House members and governors in states with significant numbers of auto plants.
Agency employees then called the lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans, working off a script that said letting California implement its own emissions controls on automakers "would have significant impacts on the light truck and car industry."
"If asked our position, we say we are in opposition of the waiver," the script says.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., has said this intervention of one federal agency with another could break lobbying laws. He had demanded the documents that the Transportation Department handed over Friday.
The Transportation Department said it acted legally and was simply disseminating information.
At issue is a California law that would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from cars and 18 percent from sport utility vehicles beginning in 2009. California can't implement the law unless it gets a waiver from the federal Environmental Protection Agency allowed under the Clean Air Act.
If California gets the waiver, at least 11 other states are ready to follow its lead and implement the same controls.
The auto industry opposes a waiver for California.