Infinite Menus, Copyright 2006, OpenCube Inc. All Rights Reserved.

More Bizarro World Government - the EPA Protecting Industry From Environmentalists

One of the things I detest most about this administration and its Rovian politics (if I believed in Hell, I’d be sure Karl Rove was headed there) is the Orwellian way they twist so many things into their opposites - like the AIDS virus that subverts the very cells in the immune system that are supposed to fight disease and uses them to spread itself, since this administration took office they’ve been doing the same - the Justice Department becomes the lead agency in trashing our Bill of Rights and kidnapping and torturing people; the Department of Education is busy waving the No Child Left Behind Act to make American education more discriminatory against poor kids and kids with learning disabilities; Bush’s (thankfully failed) campaign to turn Social Security over to the tender mercies of his friends in places like Enron was touted as “saving” it; they “support” the troops by attacking their pay and benefits, neglecting the active duty health care system, attacking the legitimacy of PTSD as a diagnosis, and hacking away at the VA … and the EPA attacks environmental protection while using smokescreen names like Clear Skies and Healthy Forests to clear the way for worse pollution and clear-cutting national forests.

In the most recent stunt, the EPA has stuck to the states-rights values of the so-called-conservative Bush administration by blocking the efforts of a third of the nation’s states that, frustrated by the federal government’s failure to do anything effective, have decided to act at their level to set better standards for car and truck exhaust emissions.

Good thing the feds are there to protect us from those wacky state legislatures - who knows, they might do something crazy like bring our auto emissions standards up to the level of some eco-crazy country like, say, China.

From the New York Times:

E.P.A. Says 17 States Can’t Set Emission Rules

By John M. Broder And Felicity Barringer

Published: December 20, 2007

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday denied California and 16 other states the right to set their own standards for carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles.

The E.P.A. administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, said the proposed California rules were pre-empted by federal authority and made moot by the energy bill signed into law by President Bush on Wednesday. Mr. Johnson said California had failed to make a compelling case that it needed authority to write its own standards for greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks to help curb global warming.

The decision immediately provoked a heated debate over its scientific basis and whether political pressure was applied by the automobile industry to help it escape the proposed California regulations. Officials from the states and numerous environmental groups vowed to sue to overturn the edict.

In an evening conference call with reporters, Mr. Johnson defended his agency’s decision.

“The Bush administration is moving forward with a clear national solution, not a confusing patchwork of state rules,” he said. “I believe this is a better approach than if individual states were to act alone.”

The 17 states — including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — had waited two years for the Bush administration to issue a ruling on an application to set stricter air quality standards than those adopted by the federal government. The decision, technically known as a Clean Air Act waiver, was the first time California was refused permission to impose its own pollution rules; the federal government had previously granted the state more than 50 waivers.

The emissions standards California proposed in 2004 — but never approved by the federal government — would have forced automakers to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in new cars and light trucks by 2016, with the cutbacks to begin in 2009 models.

That would have translated into roughly 43 miles per gallon for cars and some light trucks and about 27 miles per gallon for heavier trucks and sport utility vehicles.

The new federal law will require automakers to meet a 35-mile-per-gallon fleetwide standard for cars and trucks sold in the United States by 2020. It does not address carbon dioxide emissions, but such emissions would be reduced as cars were forced to become more fuel efficient.

California’s proposed rules had sought to address the impact of carbon dioxide and other pollutants from cars and trucks that scientists say contribute to the warming of the planet.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California said the states would go to federal court to reverse the E.P.A. 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,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said. “We will continue to fight this battle.”

He added, “California sued to compel the agency to act on our waiver, and now we will sue to overturn today’s decision and allow Californians to protect our environment.”

Twelve other states — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington — had proposed standards like California’s, and the governors of Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Utah said they would do the same.

If the waiver had been granted and the 16 other states had adopted the California standard, it would have covered at least half of all vehicles sold in the United States.

Automakers praised the decision. “We commend E.P.A. for protecting a national, 50-state program,” said David McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “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.”

Industry analysts and environmental groups said the E.P.A. decision had the appearance of a reward to the industry, in return for dropping its opposition to the energy legislation. Auto industry leaders issued statements supporting the new energy law, which gives them more time to improve fuel economy than California would have.

The California attorney general, Edmund G. Brown Jr., called the decision “absurd.” He said the decision ignored a long history of waivers granted California to deal with its special topographical, climate and transportation circumstances, which require tougher air quality standards than those set nationally.

Mr. Brown noted that federal courts in California and Vermont upheld the California standards this year against challenges by the auto industry.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat, said: “I find this disgraceful. The passage of the energy bill does not give the E.P.A a green light to shirk its responsibility to protect the health and safety of the American people from air pollution.”

Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the E.P.A. decision defied law, science and common sense. He said his committee would investigate how the decision had been made and would seek to reverse it.

Richard Blumenthal, the attorney general of Connecticut, called the ruling a “mockery of law and sound public policy.”

Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York attorney general, said the state would challenge the decision.

Mr. Johnson, the E.P.A. administrator, cited federal law, not science, as the underpinning of his decision. “Climate change affects everyone regardless of where greenhouse gases occur, so California is not exclusive,” he said.

Mary Nichols, the head of the California Air Resources Board, which had geared up to enforce the proposed emissions rules on 2009-model cars, said the reasoning was flawed. “Thirty-five miles per gallon is not the same thing as a comprehensive program for reducing greenhouse gases,” Ms. Nichols said.

David Doniger, a lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that since 1984, the agency has not distinguished between local, national and international air pollution.

“All the smog problems that California has are shared with other states, just like the global warming problems they have are shared with other states,” he said.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • blinkbits
  • BlinkList
  • blogmarks
  • del.icio.us
  • digg
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • YahooMyWeb

RSS feed | Trackback URI

16 Comments in 12 threads.»

Pages: [2] 1 » Show All

Trackback by car insurance boston
2008-02-19 13:44:10

car insurance boston

horticulture incomprehension delicious.collected hospitalize screws

 
Trackback by debts credit
2008-02-15 03:58:38

debts credit

devices workman?NATOs!streamed

 
Trackback by Tetracycline metabolism.
2008-02-06 22:58:58

Dental treatment for tetracycline poisoning.

Tetracycline septra. Tetracycline.

 
Trackback by Ambien cr addiction.
2008-01-25 18:36:32

Ambien side effects.

Ambien cr.

 
Comment by me
2007-12-25 13:49:22

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday denied California and 16 other states the right to set their own standards for carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles.

“The right”? When did this become a right, anyway? Are they, like, manufacturing rights out of their basements now over at the New York Times? Do we in Indiana get to make up regulatory standards governing these newly manufactured rights so that if we pass the most strict standards, New Yorkers have to be governed by those standards? Isn’t that the way these things work?

 
Comment by me
2007-12-25 02:14:09

Interestingly, if the courts had not recently ruled that the EPA DOES HAVE authority to regulate greenhouse gasses, it would seem to me that it would have been a simpler thing for states to set individual emissions standards. At least, the EPA wouldn’t have been standing in the way. It then would have been a matter of congressional action rather than executive agency action. Given the Democrat control of both houses, it may have been simpler for Congress to have granted the states power to set their own standards. As it is, environmentalists may have hoist themselves on their own petards by pushing for courts to rule that the EPA CAN regulate such standards.
In any case, I have some blog posts by Jonathan Adler at Volokh Conspiracy, who has some thoughts on this issue (here and here).

Craig R. Harmon

 
Comment by Craig R. Harmon
2007-12-25 02:11:47

Interestingly, if the courts had not recently ruled that the EPA DOES HAVE authority to regulate greenhouse gasses, it would seem to me that it would have been a simpler thing for states to set individual emissions standards. At least, the EPA wouldn’t have been standing in the way. It then would have been a matter of congressional action rather than executive agency action. Given the Democrat control of both houses, it may have been simpler for Congress to have granted the states power to set their own standards. As it is, environmentalists may have hoist themselves on their own petards by pushing for courts to rule that the EPA CAN regulate such standards.
In any case, I have some blog posts by Jonathan Adler at Volokh Conspiracy, who has some thoughts on this issue (here and here).

 
Comment by Craig R. Harmon
2007-12-25 01:33:48

It seems remotely possible to me that setting different emissions standards in different states might have some, slight effect on interstate commerce. It also occurs to me that the Constitution explicitly grants the federal government authority to override the states on issues where that’s the case. Seems like a perfectly constitutional and lawful use of federal governmental authority to prevent multiple states from setting separate standards that would have to be met by auto makers. I mean, presumably you all do actually wish to be able to afford cars made in the future and having to produce cars to seventeen different standards for sale in different states would add appreciably to the cost of every car produced. You don’t think the auto manufacturers wouldn’t pass the extra costs on to all y’all? Frankly, cars long ago became too expensive for me to buy new. My present car is 15 years old and running reliably with very low maintenance costs. Boosting the cost of new cars to meet independently set and differing standards in different states would simply mean that fewer new cars would be bought, cutting into the sales of new cars, stagnating both the manufacture of new cars and setting off new rounds of lay-offs, and depressing business and the labor market for every business that feeds the new-car manufacturers.

These sort of actions have effects that go way beyond the environment.

But I really am no economics expert so feel free to disagree.

Comment by Paul Watson
2007-12-25 04:57:20

Craig,
Uhm, surely the companies would simply figure out which emission standards were the toughest and meet those, thus meeting all the others at the same time. This would add o the cost, but not as markedly as you seem to think. Although saying that, my car is currently 10 years old and still going, so what do I know?

Also, the Europeans and Japanese manufacturers manage to meet standards like these and their auto-industries are actually doing better than the US industry. Tougher standards are not the reason the US auto industry is in trouble. Of course, we could just be better than you. ;-)

Comment by me
2007-12-25 11:42:15

Well, I’ve no doubt that you guys are better than us! But it seems to me, and I could be wrong, but when California had tighter emissions standards, the industry didn’t manufacture and equip every car to every state to the California standard. They equipped cars going to California with special doo-dads and thing-ums and everyone else met minimum standards for the rest of the country. Why? I’m not sure but it might be because we Americans don’t cotton to having one state, California, regulating for the rest of us. Since none of us Hoosiers gets to vote for any legislators in California, we honestly don’t give a shit what they want on their cars. We want what we want. So there’s that rather independent spirit of federalism that rebels against regulation without representation.

Plus, and I don’t know this for certain but it was said that manufacturing and doo-dading cars up to meet California’s standards added to the costs of cars. Even if we were interested on a bunch of liberals in California determining what the rest of us could buy, which we aren’t, we sure as hell weren’t interested in paying extra for what Californians demanded but we didn’t want.

Those are from the consumer’s side. From the manufacturer’s side, the profit motive moves manufacturers to limit costs so that if they don’t have to doo-dad up all cars at extra cost, they’re not going to. They’re going to do what will make their product as affordable as possible for the most people: give cars for each state cars that meet that state’s standards and the rest get the lowest standard required by the rest of the country.

But, suppose they do what you suggest and figure out the toughest standard and deliver cars that meet that standard to all the states. What happens when, next year, another state sets tougher still standards? Now the Industry has to figure out how to meet that standard. Next year, another state and then another. This is why we have a clause in the Constitution that allows the central government to regulate for the whole country, so our industries aren’t burdened with that kind of thing, so everyone gets regulated the same, so industries can know ahead of time what standards it must meet, so every one, not just the people of one state, gets a say in what they are going to have to live with.

Now maybe that’s all just the migraine talking but there’s nothing about 50 different states setting their own regulations about a product that will be sold and bought throughout the country that makes any sense to me.

Craig R. Harmon

Comment by Paul Watson
2007-12-26 06:13:20

Craig,
I see, so you think Californians shouldn’t be able to insist on cleaner air for themselves because you don’t want it. So you have no problem with conservatives imposing their wishes on liberals, but vice versa pisses you off? ;-)

It’s not like the California standards are that hard to meet. As I said, everyone else in the world meets them as matter of routine. That’s why I don’t understand the problem, because no one else is having it.

(Comments won't nest below this level)
Comment by me
2007-12-26 10:53:20

I think it’s a national problem that needs to be solved nationally, one standard for all rather than piecemeal. That’s what I think. I’m not arguing what that standard should be or how strict or how lax. I’m not arguing that the standard shouldn’t be what California wants or higher. I’m saying it makes no sense to have two, three, five, or 17 different standards. I don’t know how to put it more plainly. Now if each state produced their own cars for their own state, that would be different. Each state could decide what emissions standards their cars must meet but it doesn’t work that way. It is clearly an interstate commerce problem which, in my opinion, should be solved nationally. What the standard should be is a political problem that needs to be debated nationally and solved at that level.

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by Tom Harper Subscribed to comments via email
2007-12-21 16:16:20

Great post. I just posted on this same thing at my own blog. I was gonna cross-post it over here but you beat me to it.

This has to be the Bush Administration’s most Orwellian move yet, and that’s saying a lot. “States’ Rights” vs. “a confusing patchwork of state rules” — LOL. I wonder if any neocons could explain the difference between those two.

 
Comment by Dusty Subscribed to comments via email
2007-12-21 05:12:18

As a native Californian, we have always had stricter standards for car emissions..that is..until Bush took office. And yes, its a states rights issue that will be sure to get decided by the courts, as every single thing BushCo has done in the EPA has so far.

 
Name (required)
E-mail (required - never shown publicly)
URI
Subscribe to comments via email
Your Comment (smaller size | larger size)
You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> in your comment.
Fish.Travel