California is Dismissed by the EPA ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: California is Dismissed by the EPA

Thursday, December 20, 2007

California is Dismissed by the EPA

California State FlagThe EPA has rejected the waiver request by the State of California to impose its own limitations on greenhouse gas emissions from gas and trucks. Calfornia is already planning to sue the agency and force its hand. Given how friendly the courts have been towards states in their fight against the federal governments restrictions, California may be optimistic about its chances to ultimately win out.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled miles-per-gallon standards and the global warming pollution standards required under the Clean Air Act are "wholly independent." The even more recent ruling by the district court in Fresno, California added that "it would be the very definition of folly" to prevent the implementation of vehicle global warming emissions standards.

Sixteen other states were poised to follow California's lead, if the waiver was granted. Although, given California's population, any rules they enacted would most likely become the de facto rules for the U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson cited passage of the new CAFE standards as part of the reason the waiver was being denied. Siding with the automakers, he seems to feel that one rule across all 50 states should suffice.

"These gases contribute to the challenge of global climate change affecting every state in the union," Johnson said. "Therefore, according to the criteria in section 209 of the Clean Air Act, EPA did not find that separate California standards are needed to "meet compelling and extraordinary conditions."

California officials seem to feel he is just using the new CAFE standard as an excuse.

"It's a phony argument and ridiculous on its face," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

"I find this disgraceful," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. "The passage of the energy bill does not give the EPA a green light to shirk its responsibility to protect the health and safety of the American people from air pollution."

"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," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

California's law requires a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions standards from motor vehicles by 2016. And the new rules would kick in for model year 2009, unlike the new Energy Bill standards which get enacted in 2010.

The sixteen other states that are following California's lead: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington.

Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers' President and CEO Dave McCurdy: "By denying this waiver, EPA has not wavered in preserving a national program that raises fuel economy while reducing carbon dioxide. We commend EPA for protecting a national, 50-state program.

"Enhancing energy security and improving fuel economy are priorities to all automakers, but a patchwork quilt of inconsistent and competing fuel economy programs at the state level would only have created confusion, inefficiency, and uncertainty for automakers and consumers.

Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales North America concurred: “It is important,” he said, “that the U.S. EPA has further clarified that the federal government is best suited to regulate fuel economy standards for the benefit of the entire nation."

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