Feds blow smoke up states' tailpipes
A disingenuous federal Environmental Protection Agency will be sued by states, including Washington, for refusing to let them regulate vehicle...
A disingenuous federal Environmental Protection Agency will be sued by states, including Washington, for refusing to let them regulate vehicle greenhouse-gas emissions.
In the absence of federal leadership, the states have the legal and moral authority to take charge. EPA is going to lose big time. The trouble is, as Gov. Christine Gregoire noted, even a successful lawsuit wastes precious time. Washington expected its auto-emission laws to phase in starting 2009.
EPA administrator Stephen Johnson had been warned by his technical and legal staff the agency was wrong and would predictably lose in court, according to published reports. His decision to roll the dice is one thing; purposefully misrepresenting the outcome is another.
"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," Johnson said.
Baloney. California had sought what amounted to a routine waiver from EPA to proceed with an emissions plan on the books since 2004. Dozens of waivers had been granted to California over four decades under the Clean Air Act. As many as 16 states were looking to follow the California emissions model, as lawmakers in Oregon and Washington did two years ago.
Johnson's attempt to create a false sense of confusion will be smacked down in court, after the usual time-consuming delays and appeals. Separate failed lawsuits by the auto industry already concluded California and individual states have the authority to regulate such emissions. The U.S. Supreme Court last spring told EPA it could no longer duck involvement with CO2 emissions.
The U.S. auto industry fended off higher mileage standards so long, its American buyers abandoned them for foreign brands better able to stretch $3-a-gallon gas. If Detroit wants to sell cars in Europe they will have to cut tailpipe emissions or face fines. The European Union has adopted rules that apply to any automaker doing business in Europe.
About half the car sales in the U.S. are represented in the states that want to control greenhouse-gas emissions. The market is speaking.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.