Monday, May 21, 2007

An excellent piece in US News & World Report on battle over California greenhouse gas standards

The full story is at http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/070521/21epa.htm

Here are some excerpts:

California Goes to D.C. to Push for Tailpipe Law
By Bret Schulte
Posted 5/21/07

As has been the case for decades, California is again leading the pack for new environmental laws.

This time, however, the federal government is standing in its way. On Tuesday, leaders from California and as many as 11 other states will meet with Environmental Protection Agency officials to ask the government to grant them permission to pass their own restrictions on greenhouse emissions from automobiles in the absence of federal standards. Despite increasing pressure, the Bush administration has refused to regulate carbon dioxide, from cars or other sources, for fear it will stall the economy.

The waiver request from the EPA has become a cause célèbre among environmental groups as well as a bipartisan coalition of governors, who argue that states have routinely exercised the right to implement environmental standards tougher than those required by federal law. The debate has become vitriolic, including an unusually sharp attack on Bush leading into the EPA hearing in Monday's Washington Post by two Republican governors involved in the dispute, Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Jodi Rell of Connecticut.

"It's bad enough that the federal government has yet to take the threat of global warming seriously; but it borders on malfeasance for it to block the efforts of states such as California and Connecticut that are trying to protect the public's health and welfare," they write....

Tuesday's hearing, which will feature state attorneys general, cabinet officials, and state lawmakers, marks the first breakthrough for the coalition.

"This is an absolutely critical decision," says Frank O'Donnell, director of Clean Air Watch. "States want a show of force and unity."

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