EPA Stuffs CA Sock With Coal Instead of Waiver

By Published On: December 21, 2007

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency December 19 denied California’s request for a federal Clean Air Act waiver, which would have allowed implementation of the state’s 2002 tailpipe emissions reduction law–a measure the state wants to take to reduce global warming. The decision, which also impacts 15 other states’ efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, was purportedly based on enactment that day of federal energy legislation. The new law sets a 35-mile per gallon vehicle standard beginning in 2020 and an ethanol supply target of 36 billion gallons. “The Bush Administration is moving forward with a clear national solution–not a confusing patchwork of state rules–to reduce America’s climate footprint from vehicles,” stated EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said just after the waiver rejection was announced, “I am prepared to take all measures to overturn this harmful decision.” California Public Utilities Commission president Mike Peevey called the EPA’s first waiver refusal to California in 30 years an “arrogant denial.” In contrast, vehicle manufacturers and conservative organizations applauded the decision. “California claimed that ‘compelling and extraordinary’ circumstances entitled it to a waiver, but global warming is hardly ‘extraordinary’ in California,” stated Competitive Enterprise Institute general counsel Sam Kazman. “It’s called global warming, not California warming.” Enactment of California’s vehicle tailpipe law, AB 1493, was seen as critical to meeting the state’s 25 percent emissions reduction target under its climate protection law, AB 32. Cars and other vehicles are responsible for the greatest amounts of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. “California will emit three times more global warming pollution per year by 2020 under the fuel economy standards singed into law,” said Bernadette del Chiaro, Environment California clean energy advocate. “The energy bill does not reflect a vision, beyond 2020, to address climate change, while California’s vehicle greenhouse gas standards are part of a carefully designed, comprehensive program to fight climate change through 2050,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He said the state will appeal the decision. “I have no doubt that we will prevail because the law, science and the public’s demand for leadership are on our side. Anything less than aggressive action is inexcusable,” Schwarzenegger added.

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