By Congressman Brad Sherman
California leads the nation in adopting progressive environmental policies. As you may know, the state passed regulations to require motor vehicles, manufactured in the 2009 model year and after, to have reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Under this plan, by 2016, greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles would be about 30% below the 2002 vehicle fleet emissions level.
While the Clean Air Act generally preempts states from adopting their own emission standards for mobile sources, it allows California to set its own standards if the state first obtains a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Other states can then follow California.
On December 19, 2007, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson denied California’s waiver request to allow the state to regulate motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. He made this decision despite experienced career EPA staff having unanimously advised him to grant California the waiver. This highly suspect decision appears to be politically motivated.
In his letter notifying Governor Schwarzenegger of the waiver denial, Administrator Johnson mentions that greenhouse gas emissions pose a threat to the entire nation, and not simply California. The Bush Administration cannot have it both ways. If Administrator Johnson believes that greenhouse gas emissions are a nation-wide problem, then the Bush Administration should set greenhouse gas reduction targets. It has not done so.
Along with several of my colleagues, on March 6th, I introduced the Right to Clean Vehicles Act. Passage of this bill would allow California and over 12 other states to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. Senator Boxer introduced a similar bill in the Senate (S. 2555).
If the federal government will not set greenhouse gas standards, the least we could do is get out of the way and let California.
This is only a brief update on an important issue facing Congress. Please feel free to contact me about this issue or other federal issues which concern you. Please visit my website at BradSherman.house.gov.