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Automobile emissions

EPA Forces California to Abandon New Limits on Automobile Emissions

Sunday, July 13, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: automobile emissions, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rejected a petition by California and 12 other states to set stricter standards on greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles than those put in place by the federal government.

Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, causing global warming.

In response to the ruling, the affected states and a number of environmental groups have promised to challenge the ruling in court.

Under the Clean Air Act, states must seek a waiver from the EPA in order to pass any emissions standard stricter than that set by the federal government. In the past, the EPA has granted California more than 50 such waivers. According to state Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr., these have been necessary because California's unique climate, topography and transportation concerns require stricter air quality standards.

In addition to California, waivers had also been requested by Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington; and the governors of Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Utah had announced plans to do so as well. Together, theses states sell half of the vehicles in the United States.

The states were seeking to impose standards requiring a 30 percent reduction in automobile and light truck greenhouse gas emissions by 2016. The emission reductions would be gradual, beginning with 2009 model cars and eventually leading to a 43 mile per gallon standard for cars and 27 miles per gallon for trucks, including sport utility vehicles.

In contrast, the federal standards recently signed into law require that all cars and trucks get 35 miles per gallon by the year 2020.

The affected states were strongly critical of the EPA's decision. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal called it a "mockery of law and sound public policy."

Mary Nichols of the California Air Resources Board rejected the EPA's argument that the federal standard is sufficient. "Thirty-five miles per gallon is not the same thing as a comprehensive program for reducing greenhouse gases," she said.

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