In an attempt to combat global warming, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked the Environmental Protection Agency in 2005 for a waiver under the Clean Air Act to institute a program that would significantly reduce vehicle pollution.
Under federal law, the EPA was supposed to grant the state’s request to toughen emission standards, unless the agency found compelling reasons to deny it. With Bush II in office, the EPA last year rejected the request, and U.S. automakers celebrated.
On Tuesday, President Obama and the Governator will team up to correct this mistake by devising meaningful greenhouse gas emission standards for passenger cars and trucks, including cohesive regulatory standards for the nation’s automakers. By 2016, the new federal standards would ideally achieve a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions nationwide.
FYI: Thirteen states—Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington—have adopted California’s standards and are awaiting favorable EPA action. Together, they represent approximately 40% of the U.S. market.
For Your Organic Bookshelf
- Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles
- Taken for a Ride: Detroit’s Big Three and the Politics of Air Pollution
- Two Billion Cars: Driving Toward Sustainability