Wasting no time, California officials sent letters to the Obama Administration on its first day, asking that the EPA approve the state’s request for a Clean Air Act waiver, which would allow California to set stricter standards for passenger vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.
As Sasha Khokha recently reported for The California Report, Sacramento requested the waiver from the EPA in 2005, only to see it denied in March 2008, a move that has blocked the state from enforcing its own laws designed to reduce tailpipe emissions. The state has been fighting for the waiver for the last year along with several other states that have adopted the same regulations.
If granted, the waiver would allow California to take steps to reduce emissions from passenger cars 30 percent by 2016.
In his written appeal, Gov. Schwarzenegger asked that President Obama “direct the EPA to act promptly and favorably on California’s reconsideration request so that we may continue the critical work of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on global climate change.”
California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols also spoke out Wednesday, in a letter to the new designated EPA head Lisa Jackson, stating that “the decision made by the former adminstrator to deny California the waiver to enforce our clean air car laws was flawed, factually and legally, in fundamental ways.”
At her confirmation hearing, Jackson said only that she promised a “speedy review” of California’s waiver issue.
This fact sheet from CARB explains more about California’s emissions standards for cars and the agency’s take on the waiver controversy.