Washington Governor Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, announced late Thursday that she will join California in suing the Bush Administration over tailpipe emission standards. Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, also a Democrat, is hinting he'll do the same. The move follows a ruling by EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson on Wednesday that denied California's request for a waiver to the Clean Air Act. [Gregoire says the denial is unprecedented in the forty-plus year history of the Clean Air Act]. Without that waiver, California -and the dozen or so other states that have followed its lead - can't impose tougher greenhouse emissions standards on automakers. At a hastily called news conference in her private office in the Capitol, Gregoire framed the fight in terms you'd expect from a Southern governor. "We still have states rights in this country," asserted Gregoire. "And particularly when you have an instance here where there isn't federal leadership we ought to be allowed to move forward and lead." The so-called California standards aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars by thirty percent by 2016. The tougher exhaust rules were supposed to take effect for the 2009 model year cars. But that now seems unlikely given the legal tangle that's unfolding. Critics say the Bush Administration caved to the automakers. President Bush counters that the tailpipe rules are no longer needed thanks to the energy bill he signed this week. It raises average fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks to thirty-five miles per gallon by 2020. The President calls it a "national plan" whereas automakers have criticized the tailpipe standards as a patchwork. So who will prevail in the end - the states or the feds? According to the Washington Post the EPA's own lawyers told Administrator Johnson that if he denied the waiver he'll lose in court.