As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Schwarzenegger, Brown Finally Sue EPA Over Tailpipe Emissions Waiver

It was scheduled to happen the week of the SoCal wildfires, but events intervened. Now, California is poised to sue the federal government over the EPA's failure to grant a waiver to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Schwarzenegger and Brown plan to file a lawsuit asking a federal court to order the Bush administration to decide whether to approve California's landmark law requiring automakers to gradually reduce tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming.

“California has a long and proud history of leadership in reducing pollution and fighting for clean air for our residents,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement yesterday. “And we are upholding that tradition by filing a lawsuit against the federal government that takes a big step forward in the battle against global warming.”

Under federal law, California must receive an EPA waiver to implement emissions standards tougher than federal levels.

But even if they prevail in court, California leaders are pessimistic that they will secure the waiver from the Bush administration, which has been slow to acknowledge warnings that human-caused global warming is a serious threat to the planet.

“Realistically, we think the chances are slim,” said Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board. “We've made the case on the merits. We're right on the law. Somehow or the other politics will intervene. We just don't know where or how.”

The strategy here has been to slow-walk the decision to avoid the negative consequences of disallowing broadly popular legislation. It should be noted that the EPA has NEVER in its history failed to grant a waiver of this kind for tighter air pollution control laws. There's not even any standing for denying the waiver under the Clean Air Act, which only should occur if the regulations are not "technologically feasible." Considering that people are making 150mpg conversions in their garages, that's just patently absurd. Automakers in this country are killing themselves slowly by refusing to adapt to the needs and desires of consumers. If they persist, states should be allowed to recognize the impact on their own air quality and demand a shift.

This is going to be a long fight, but eventually, we will get this law.

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