EPA Grants California Greenhouse Gas Waiver

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is granting California’s waiver request, enabling the state to enforce its greenhouse gas emissions standards for new motor vehicles, beginning with the current model year.

Using the law and science as its guide, EPA has taken this action to tackle air pollution and protect human health, according to a June 30 press release.

“This waiver is consistent with the Clean Air Act as it’s been used for the last 40 years and supports the prerogatives of the 13 states and the District of Columbia who have opted to follow California’s lead," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "More importantly, this decision reinforces the historic agreement on nationwide emissions standards developed by a broad coalition of industry, government, and environmental stakeholders earlier this year.”

The first California waiver request was made in December 2005 and was subsequently denied in March 2008. This previous decision was based on an interpretation of the Clean Air Act finding that California did not have a need for its greenhouse gas emission standards to meet “compelling and extraordinary conditions.”

Last month, President Obama announced a first-ever national policy aimed at both increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks sold in the United States. The new standards would cover model years 2012-2016. When the national program takes effect, California has committed to allowing automakers who show compliance with the national program to also be deemed in compliance with state requirements.

Information, including decision documents, can be found at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/ca-waiver.htm.

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