EPA ruling looms on greenhouse gases (updated)

AT readers have an opportunity to comment to the EPA on granting a waiver to California to regulate Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in automobiles, but the deadline is Monday, April 6, 2009.

Send your comments on the proposed waiver to the EPA by email to
a-and-r-docket@epa.gov or fax at (202) 566-9744 and refer to Docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2006-0173. Note that your comments would be part of a public record. The EPA Federal Register Notice is here.

As recently 
reported in AT, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has already issued regulations to impose GHG limits under California State law, but CARB needs a waiver from the EPA under the Clean Air Act in order to put them into effect. The EPA previously denied the waiver under the Bush administration, but a little noticed provision in the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill requires the EPA to reconsider the denial and make a decision by June 30, 2009 to either approve or deny.

If the EPA approves the waiver, the regulations could go into effect soon since the
regulations are ready to go. The regulations would affect about half of the new automobiles sold in the US since 13 other states and the District of Columbia adhere to the California Clean Air standards. The result would be a de facto national standard for the auto makers.
The Obama administration might approve the waiver since it would put GHG regulations for autos into effect much quicker than ones promulgated by the federal government.

Comments should address the need for national standards on such an important issue instead of having California adopt its own. Since the US Supreme Court has
ruled that CO2 is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act, the legal basis for moving forward on regulating GHG emissions is already in place. Thus, arguing that the GHG science is not settled may not carry much weight. It would be better to oppose the waiver on grounds that national standards are preferable since it would be a financial hardship for the struggling automakers to comply with separate state and federal standards.


A review of some of the almost 2,000 comments thus far received by the EPA indicates that the green lobby has flooded the EPA with arguments in favor of granting the waiver. Also, many of the comments sound the same.
If you disagree with California setting GHG standards on autos, then be sure to register your comments as well.
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