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EPA rejects state’s bid for tighter climate rules

first_img“The champagne is flowing very freely in Detroit this evening,” said Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said she will join a lawsuit fighting the decision and also will work to overturn it legislatively in Congress next year. She ridiculed the administration for linking the decision to passage of the energy bill, which is focused on reducing oil use. California’s law, on the other hand, is more broadly designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2016. Under the California law, cutbacks would have begun in 2009, and ultimately passenger cars and some light trucks would have to achieve a 43.7 mile-per-gallon average. Sen. Dianne Feinstein called the decision “disgraceful” while Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles – who earlier this year uncovered e-mail evidence that the Department of Transportation was lobbying lawmakers on behalf of the auto industry against the waiver – vowed to investigate. “EPA’s decision ignores the law, science and commonsense. This is a policy dictated by politics and ideology, not facts,” he said. California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu ez called the administration’s rationale for denying the waiver “as gaseous as the tailpipe emissions they seem hell-bent on protecting.” Auto industry officials, meanwhile, praised the decision “Enhancing energy security and improving fuel economy are priorities to all automakers, but a patchwork quilt of inconsistent and competing fuel economy programs at the state level would only have created confusion, inefficiency and uncertainty for automakers and consumers,” added Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers CEO Dave McCurdy. The denial marks the first time in at least 40 years that the EPA rejected California a waiver. Staff Writer Harrison Sheppard contributed. [email protected] 202-662-8731160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – The Bush administration shot down California’s first-in-the-nation effort to limit tailpipe emissions Wednesday, igniting outrage from state officials who vowed to overturn the decision either through legislation or a bitter court battle. The Environmental Protection Agency denied California’s two-year-old request to exceed federal clean-air requirements as members of Congress prepared to leave town for the holidays. The announcement also came just hours after President Bush signed into law the first major increase in fuel economy standards in 30 years – a bill that EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson said made California’s own global warming plan unnecessary. Johnson also maintained that “California is not exclusive” in fighting climate change, and so does not meet the “extraordinary and compelling conditions” required under the Clean Air Act. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vowed to sue to overturn the decision. “It is disappointing that the federal government is standing in our way and ignoring the will of tens of millions of people across the nation,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement, referring to 16 other states that also want to adopt California’s standards. And Attorney General Jerry Brown indicated he is prepared to file legal action. “It is completely absurd to assert that California does not have a compelling need to fight global warming by curbing greenhouse gas emissions from cars,” he said in a statement. Democrats in Congress and environmental activists blasted the decision as a Christmas gift from the White House to the auto industry. last_img

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