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TONY COX, host:

Now we turn to California's Attorney General Jerry Brown, who sued the Environmental Protection Agency for denying his state the individual right to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars. Jerry Brown, welcome to News & Notes.

Attorney General JERRY BROWN (Democrat, California): Oh, thank you.

COX: How do these latest developments change things?

Attorney General BROWN: Pardon me?

COX: How do these latest developments actually change things with regard to cleaning up the air?

Attorney General BROWN: Well, they change everything. Because now, with President Obama, the EPA will react based on a science, and will in all probability give California the permission to go ahead and impose its tailpipe emissions.

COX: Now, let's clear something up that...

Attorney General BROWN: Tailpipe emissions standards.

COX: Let's clear something up, Jerry, that Senator Boxer made reference to. California already has a different standard for auto emissions than the rest of the nation. But this waiver which the former president blocked, would now allow the state to strengthen it. Is that correct?

Attorney General BROWN: No, what - what - the deal is this. Since the time of Nixon, California has had a separate authority to impose vehicle tailpipe emissions. And that is - this authority is conditioned on a waiver...

COX: Did we lose him? Yeah, we lost the Attorney General Jerry Brown. We're going to try to get him - try to get him back.

(Soundbite of music)

COX: OK. We now are back. I believe we do have the California Attorney General Jerry Brown back with us. Are you there?

Attorney General BROWN: Yup. I'm here.

COX: Sorry that we lost you. We ate up some of the time in our segment. We only have a couple of moments left. Let me ask you about the significance of this, and the issue that the automakers have made that the cost is going to be prohibitive for them and for consumers. Is that a legitimate argument in your view?

Attorney General BROWN: Ah, no. But I do think there are going to be some costs, and maybe serious costs. But with the billions that the car companies need now, there ought to be a way to find some middle ground here to help them do what they need to do. They have spent 20 years or longer avoiding making efficient cars, instead opting for power and luxury. Now they got to come back into the real world and become competitive. And I think they can do it.

COX: Here's one last question for you. Governor Schwarzenegger has been a proponent of cleaning up the environment, but he has termed out. You are a clean air advocate. Are you going to make this an issue, part of your run for the governor's seat in 2010?

Attorney General BROWN: Well, if I do run for governor - no final decisions are made - I would certainly emphasize the importance of the environment and protecting our air in particular, and advancing the cause of combating global warming. All those things are very important to me.

COX: How soon a decision can we expect from you, Govern - see, I put the wrong word out there.

Attorney General BROWN: Well, I got a full time job as attorney general, and I'm in no hurry to get into another campaign.

COX: I appreciate it, Jerry Brown. Thank you very much.

Attorney General BROWN: OK. Great.

COX: California Attorney General Jerry Brown joining us by phone from his office in Oakland.

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