Commentary

AIAM Supports National, Not California, Approach to Auto Emissions

Michael J. Stanton of the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM) testified at a March 5 public hearing on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s reconsideration of whether to grant California a waiver to regulate greenhouse emissions from automobiles and light trucks.

"AIAM supports a comprehensive national approach to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. In our view, the overriding issue that must be addressed now is how the necessary emission reductions can most efficiently and effectively be achieved," Stanton stated. "We strongly believe that a single national program to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles is the only sensible approach. EPA, DOT, California, and other states have important complementary roles to play in this national program. This proceeding provides EPA with a unique opportunity to take the necessary steps toward achieving a successful national program.

"However, we are concerned that a move by EPA to unconditionally grant the waiver would undermine the opportunity to achieve a national policy. Such a grant would result in a patchwork of regulatory programs, all with the same fundamental purpose but each having differing and potentially conflicting levels of stringency and administrative requirements.

"In addition, the CARB and DOT CAFE programs have significant structural differences. We are concerned about these substantial and unnecessary inefficiencies that result from differing federal and state programs. As long as the federal government is taking a unified, aggressive action, varying state requirements would impose immense costs and provide little or no environmental benefit. "This administration has the extraordinary opportunity of having future DOT CAFE, EPA and California standards under consideration at the same time. This provides an opportunity to bring together three competing programs.

"I want to close by observing that California and the other states have played a very important role in promoting the need for GHG standards at a time when there were no federal standards. Fortunately, aggressive fuel economy standards can serve as a surrogate for automobile greenhouse gas standards until such time as EPA promulgates its own standards. But this is a very fluid regulatory environment and what EPA does now could have implications many years to come. There are many complementary steps the states can take within the context of a national program. And this is the way it should be – a national, systematic approach to a national and international problem."

For the full transcript go to: www.aiam.org

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