WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said California can’t regulate automotive carbon emissions because an energy bill signed by President George W. Bush already achieves greenhouse gas reductions through new mileage standards, according to http://www.Bloomberg.com.

The decision blocks California from implementing its law intended to cut vehicle carbon exhaust 30 percent by 2016. The agency acted on a two-year-old request from the state seeking a waiver under the 1970 Clean Air Act to enact air-pollution limits that exceed federal standards. The energy bill sets a 35-mile-per-gallon mileage goal for cars and light trucks by 2020.

Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, and nine other states that represent as much as 40 percent of the U.S. car market have adopted California’s carbon reduction standards.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger criticized the EPA decision. The state will likely file a suit to reverse the decision with a federal district court in Washington.

Under the Clean Air Act, California can set pollution rules more stringent than federal standards once it gets an EPA waiver. The Clean Air Act allows other states to adopt California’s rules or the federal government’s.

The EPA said California didn’t meet the “compelling and extraordinary conditions” standard required for the waiver because cutting greenhouse gases is a national and global problem.

Environmental groups who favored California and other states getting a waiver said they too would fight the decision.