Bush to California: Drop Dead

The EPA won"t let California set its own emission standards, setting 16 other states back with it.© Getty Images

After keeping the state in suspense for months, the Bush administration finally did what was expected and denied California the right to set its own rules for carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks. The December 19 ruling from Environmental Protection Administrator Stephen L. Johnson denied not only California, but the 16 states that follow its lead, the opportunity to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and respond to the reality of global warming.

"The Bush Administration is moving forward with a clear national solution, not a confusing patchwork of state rules," Johnson said in a conference call with reporters. But Clean Air Watch’s Frank O"Donnell points out that the notion of a "confusing patchwork" is "baloney." He says: "Johnson is implying (as the car companies have in their misleading rhetoric) that there are lots of different state standards. This is false. There is only the California standard, which other states by law can adopt." These 17 states represent half the population.

The EPA action occurred only a day after Congress finally passed the Energy Bill, which includes a federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard of 35 mpg by 2020. President Bush says he will sign that bill. But California’s proposed standard is much tougher, approximately 43 mpg for cars and 27 mpg for large trucks and SUVs by 2016. It would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent. California will appeal the EPA decision. "It is disappointing that the federal government is standing in our way and ignoring the will of millions of people across the nation," said California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "We will continue to fight this battle."

Source: New York Times