20 December 2007

Global Climate Change: EPA Tells States "No, No, No" On Own Auto Emissions Standards

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected the rights of California and 16 other states to set their own standards for carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles.

Claiming federal authority, EPA administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, said the proposed California rules are made moot by the energy bill (HR6) signed into law by President Bush on Wednesday.

According the the New York Times, "The decision immediately provoked a heated debate over its scientific basis and whether political pressure was applied by the automobile industry to help it escape the proposed California regulations. Officials from the states and numerous environmental groups vowed to sue to overturn the edict."

Johnson was quick to defend his agency's decision, stating, "The Bush administration is moving forward with a clear national solution, not a confusing patchwork of state rules. I believe this is a better approach than if individual states were to act alone."

For over two years California, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, along with 13 other states have waited as the Bush administration debated the issue of a state's right to adopt stricter air quality standards than the federal government.

The emissions standards California represented GHG emissions cut of 30 percent in new cars and light trucks by 2016, beginning with 2009 models. That's significantly higher -- 43 miles per gallon for cars and some light trucks and about 27 miles per gallon for heavier trucks and SUVs -- than the Energy Bill's 35 MPG.

I always find it interesting that state's rights are evoked inconsistently when its convenient. One wonders whether the Bush administration simply didn't want to be trumped by Schwarzenegger.

"It is disappointing that the federal government is standing in our way and ignoring the will of tens of millions of people across the nation," Mr. Schwarzenegger said. "We will continue to fight this battle."

You can almost hear him say, "I'll be back..."

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