EPA to review decision not to allow states to set emissions standards

Chris Rizo Feb. 6, 2009, 1:20pm

Lisa Jackson

Jerry Brown (D)

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday vowed to reconsider her agency's Bush-era decision not to allow states to limit climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.

California has attempted to impose limits on tailpipe emissions. But the EPA denied the request, prompting a lawsuit by California Attorney General Jerry Brown, a Democrat.

"EPA believes that there are significant issues regarding the Agency's denial of the waiver. The denial was a substantial departure from EPA's longstanding interpretation of the Clean Air Act's waiver provisions and the history of granting waivers to California for its new motor vehicle emission program," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Friday.

John McEleney, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, said it is "apparent" that EPA has "all but made up its mind" to allow states to individually set fuel economy and greenhouse gas regulations.

"The nation's auto dealers instead urge EPA to have a fair and frank national debate over the California Air Resources Board's continued campaign to regulate fuel economy at the state level," he said. "We are confident that once all the facts are known, the Administration will decide that the best policy is to maintain a single, national fuel economy standard. The state-by-state patchwork approach, advocated by CARB, should be rejected once and for all."

Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a recent letter asked President Barack Obama to direct the EPA to act favorably on California's reconsideration request.

"Your administration has a unique opportunity to ... move America toward global leadership on addressing climate change," the letter said.

The proposed California emissions standard, enacted in 2002, calls for a 30 percent cut in car and truck tailpipe emissions, such as carbon dioxide, by 2016.

The California standard had been set to start with the 2009 model year but was stayed by automaker lawsuits and the Bush administration's rejection of the state's preemption application.

Fourteen states -- including California -- and the District of Columbia have already adopted California's proposal. At least four other states have pledged to do so.

Detroit automakers -- General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC -- and companies represented by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers sued to block California's emissions rules.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW
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