EPA grants California GHG emission waiver on Autos

Richard Henry Lee
The Environmental Protection Agency today granted California its long-sought waiver to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in autos and trucks. The decision puts California in the driver's seat in determining how the regulations will be written based upon California law.

The decision ratifies an agreement worked out earlier between the Obama administration, California officials and the auto industry whereby whatever California proposes will become a de facto national standard. The auto industry group, Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, issued the following statement:

"AIAM and its member companies have long supported a single, national program to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Consequently, we were pleased with the President's recent announcement that the State of California, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reached an agreement with the auto industry on the basic parameters of a national program extending through model year 2016.

"In light of this agreement, AIAM anticipated that EPA would grant the waiver. We are now focused on working with California, EPA and NHTSA to finalize the operational details of this harmonized program and to continue meeting aggressive goals for cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles."

Governor Schwarzenegger (R) of California met with President Obama (D) earlier this year to discuss auto emissions and the two apparently worked out an agreement at that time where the federal government will grant the waiver and also adopt the same standards as California.

The LA Times reports:

Today's decision sets the stage for the proposed national vehicle emissions standards that President Obama announced in May: New cars and trucks sold in the U.S. will be required to improve their fuel efficiency gradually over the next seven years, reaching an average of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016 -- a 40% improvement over the current 25 mpg level. The federal government agrees to adopt California's standards as its own, and the state agrees not to toughen the standards before 2017. Automakers agree to drop lawsuits against California's standards.

Schwarzenegger reacted to the news today with a statement:

This decision is a huge step for our emerging green economy that will create thousands of new jobs and bring Californians the cars they want while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

We hasten to add that Schwarzenegger said pretty much the same thing when he signed California's own version of carbon cap-and-trade and energy efficiency legislation in 2006:

Some have challenged whether AB 32 is good for businesses. I say unquestionably it is good for businesses. Not only large, well-established businesses, but small businesses that will harness their entrepreneurial spirit to help us achieve our climate goals.

But as we reported previously here at AT, California is not producing lots of green jobs, because its strict environmental regulations hamper green energy projects and make them cost prohibitive.

This is a state which has among the highest unemployment in the nation and is teetering on insolvency.
And as they say, as California goes, so goes the nation.
The Environmental Protection Agency today granted California its long-sought waiver to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in autos and trucks. The decision puts California in the driver's seat in determining how the regulations will be written based upon California law.

The decision ratifies an agreement worked out earlier between the Obama administration, California officials and the auto industry whereby whatever California proposes will become a de facto national standard. The auto industry group, Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, issued the following statement:

"AIAM and its member companies have long supported a single, national program to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Consequently, we were pleased with the President's recent announcement that the State of California, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reached an agreement with the auto industry on the basic parameters of a national program extending through model year 2016.

"In light of this agreement, AIAM anticipated that EPA would grant the waiver. We are now focused on working with California, EPA and NHTSA to finalize the operational details of this harmonized program and to continue meeting aggressive goals for cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles."

Governor Schwarzenegger (R) of California met with President Obama (D) earlier this year to discuss auto emissions and the two apparently worked out an agreement at that time where the federal government will grant the waiver and also adopt the same standards as California.

The LA Times reports:

Today's decision sets the stage for the proposed national vehicle emissions standards that President Obama announced in May: New cars and trucks sold in the U.S. will be required to improve their fuel efficiency gradually over the next seven years, reaching an average of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016 -- a 40% improvement over the current 25 mpg level. The federal government agrees to adopt California's standards as its own, and the state agrees not to toughen the standards before 2017. Automakers agree to drop lawsuits against California's standards.

Schwarzenegger reacted to the news today with a statement:

This decision is a huge step for our emerging green economy that will create thousands of new jobs and bring Californians the cars they want while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

We hasten to add that Schwarzenegger said pretty much the same thing when he signed California's own version of carbon cap-and-trade and energy efficiency legislation in 2006:

Some have challenged whether AB 32 is good for businesses. I say unquestionably it is good for businesses. Not only large, well-established businesses, but small businesses that will harness their entrepreneurial spirit to help us achieve our climate goals.

But as we reported previously here at AT, California is not producing lots of green jobs, because its strict environmental regulations hamper green energy projects and make them cost prohibitive.

This is a state which has among the highest unemployment in the nation and is teetering on insolvency.
And as they say, as California goes, so goes the nation.