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EPA denies California bid to reduce emissions from vehicles

EPA denies California bid to reduce emissions from vehicles

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is denying California's bid to place greenhouse gas limits on cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles, denying a request for a waiver that would have allowed the restrictions to take effect.

"The Bush administration is moving forward with a clear national solution - not a confusing patchwork of state rules," EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said in a conference call.

"I believe this is a better approach than if individual states were to act alone."

The long-awaited decision amounted to a serious setback for California, 16 other U.S. states and several Canadian provinces seeking new car regulations to achieve their anti-global warming goals.

The tailpipe standards California adopted in 2004 would have forced automakers to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent in new cars and light trucks by 2016, with the cutbacks beginning in the 2009 model year.

Under the Clean Air Act, the state needed a federal waiver to implement the rules.

"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," said California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"We will continue to fight this battle. California sued to compel the agency to act on our waiver, and now we will sue to overturn today's decision and allow Californians to protect our environment."

Twelve other states - Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington - have adopted the California emissions standards and the governors of Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Utah have said they also plan to adopt them.

With Wednesday's denial, those other states also are prevented from moving forward.

Last week, Quebec announced it would be the first Canadian province to adopt California's stringent standards in a move hailed as part of a domino effect toward greener cars.

Quebec Environment Minister Line Beauchamp made the announcement last Wednesday at a UN climate-change summit in Indonesia.

At least four other Canadian provinces are considering a similar plan and Quebec described its step as part of an historic march toward cleaner cars across North America.

Beauchamp announced Quebec's cabinet had authorized publication of a draft regulation respecting greenhouse gas emissions for light vehicles.

It would have taken effect after a 60-day consultation period starting next Jan. 3 if the EPA had provided the waiver allowing California to enact its law.

In explaining his decision, Johnson cited energy legislation approved by Congress and signed into law Wednesday by President George W. Bush. The law requires automakers to achieve an industrywide average fuel efficiency for cars, SUVs and small trucks of 15 kilometres a litre by 2020, the first increase in the federal requirement in 32 years.

By 2016, California's law would require passenger cars and some small sport utility vehicles and trucks to reach 18.6 kilometres a litre. Most pickups, SUVs and larger vehicles would need to achieve 11.4 kilometres a litre by 2016.

Johnson said Congress's approach of reaching a fleetwide average of 15 kilometres a litre would be better than a "partial state-by-state approach" that would achieve 14.4 kilometres a litre.

Environmental groups questioned Johnson's reasoning, noting California's standards would be higher a full four years ahead of the congressional action and the federal 15 kilometres a litre is a minimum requirement that future administrations could exceed.

"Mr. Johnson compared the California standard for 2016 with the new floor for the CAFE standard for 2020. This is fundamentally misleading," said David Doniger, director of the climate centre for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Wednesday's decision was further confirmation of the Bush administration's adamant opposition to mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions, even after a string of court decisions affirming the right of states and the federal government to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

It was the first time the EPA had fully denied California a Clean Air Act waiver since Congress gave California the right to obtain such waivers in 1967.

California had been waiting for the decision for two years but the EPA put off a decision while a Supreme Court case was pending on whether the agency could regulate greenhouse gases. In April of this year, the Supreme Court said it could.

its not very surprising that the bush administration would block this, which was going to be the strongest regulations against car emissions. most likely what they call a "clear national solution" will be nothing but another method of blocking individuals states of deciding if they want to be apart of the solution or not. whats funny is that at least 4 canadian provinces will adopt the california standards before california can.
yawn Rolling Eyes Take the rights of the states away more please Bush (and the rest of the federal government). Just another example of how many people in charge haven't glanced at the Constitution.
Unfortunately, the Big Brother from Washington, having as figureheads Bushes or Clintons, is increasingly becoming more corrupt, powerful over the ordinary citizen, terroristic and even murderous.

The federal government takes more and more decisions against the interests of the American citizens because they protect primarily the interests of the corporations.

Therefore, no wonder that we see such moves!
One must remember that California is a special case when it comes to state regulations in the United States. California is large enough, both in population and economics, that if the state passes a regulation regarding automobiles, it will economically force that regulation upon the entire United States, no matter what the federal government wants (or the majority of Americans want). The U.S. automotive industry cannot afford to make separate cars and trucks for California.

Ummm... more like the North American auto industry can't afford not to be more competitive. Is the status quo helping them right now... not particularly. N. American cars are ROFL bad....

Besides, California has a democratically elected government that democratically passed a bill quite a while ago that brought the emissions standards to the levels they wanted. They have been setting the standard for ages now, and they are within their rights too. Constitutional lawyers are probably salivating over how much they are going to make in legal fees. What a waste of tax dollars.
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