December 20, 2007

EPA rejects California waiver on greenhouse gas emissions

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that new energy legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Bush this week provides a unified federal standard, and that a waiver requested by the state of California on greenhouse gas emissions is not required.

The EPA has determined that a unified federal standard of 35 mpg US (6.7 L/100 km) will deliver significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks in all fifty states, which would be more effective than a partial state-by-state approach of 33.8 mpg US (7.1 L/100 km).

“The Bush Administration is moving forward with a clear national solution, not a confusing patchwork of state rules, to reduce America’s climate footprint from vehicles,” said EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson. “President Bush and Congress have set the bar high, and when fully implemented, our federal fuel economy standard will achieve significant benefits by applying to all fifty states.”

California’s current waiver request is distinct from all prior requests, which covered pollutants that predominantly affected local and regional air quality. Greenhouse gases are fundamentally global in nature, unlike other air pollutants covered by prior California waiver requests. As these gases contribute to the challenge of global climate change affecting every state, the EPA found that according to criteria in section 209 of the Clean Air Act, separate California standards are not needed to “meet compelling and extraordinary conditions.”

The recently-signed energy bill increases fuel economy from vehicles to 35 mpg, an increase of 40 per cent, as well as increasing the amount of renewable fuel used to 36 billion gallons, nearly a five-fold increase.

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