EPA’s Reasons for Denying California’s Waiver

By January 24, 2008Global Warming

From the prepared testimony of Stephen L. Johnson, EPA Administrator, to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works:

Previous waiver requests and previous waiver decisions, however, have addressed air pollutants that predominantly affected local and regional air quality. In these cases, the purpose of the waiver was to help the state make further progress on its long, unfinished struggle to comply with Federal, State and local air quality requirements. As I stated in my letter to the Governor, “[i]n contrast, the current waiver request for greenhouse gases is far different; it presents numerous issues that are distinguishable from all prior waiver requests.” My letter noted that greenhouse gases are “fundamentally global in nature. Greenhouse gases contribute to the problem of global climate change, a problem that poses challenges for the entire nation and indeed the world. Unlike pollutants covered by other waivers, greenhouse gas emissions harm the environment in California and elsewhere regardless of where the emissions occur.” This challenge “is not exclusive or unique to California and differs in a basic way from the previous local and regional air pollution problems addressed in prior waivers.” In light of the global nature of the problem, I therefore indicated that it is my view that California does not have a need for these greenhouse gas standards to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions. That is, under the statutory criteria spelled out in Section 209 of the Clean Air Act, California had not met the requirements for a waiver.


I believe that it is preferable, as a matter of policy, to have uniform national standards to address fuel economy issues across the entire fleet of domestic and foreign manufactured vehicles sold in the United States. I just think this is common sense and I am glad the Congress moved away from previous policy positions that effectively blocked increases in fuel economy standards to proactively approve a substantial increase in fuel economy for cars and light duty trucks.

So…a policy decision, reached according to law, one that reflects both scientific and economic reality. Better a national standard to address a global phenomenon than 50 different state laws and regulations creating havoc for manufacturers and higher prices for consumers.

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