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May 23, 2008

Clean Cars Update

Once again, Caroline Keicher from our Clean Cars Campaign is here to give you all an update on the issue. Here's what she wrote:

For those of you following the developments surrounding California's vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards, aka the Pavley rollercoaster, there are a few updates to be had. 

On Wednesday of this week, California Senator Barbara Boxer successfully passed her bill (S.2555) out of the Environment and Public Works Committee which would grant that pesky but necessary waiver that California and the other states need to implement the Pavley standards.  Just one more step on the ladder of inevitability for the eventual overturning of the EPA's erroneous and politically weasel-ish decision to deny California its waiver.  Naysayers will have to pick their poison one way or the other – whether through legislation, litigation (eighteen states are now suing EPA over the waiver denial!), or an executive order from a new president, we won't be thwarted much longer.

As Senator Boxer noted, "We know two things," she said. "The president of the United States will not grant this waiver.  And the second thing, the three presidential candidates all said they would.  Draw your own conclusions."

But wait, there's even more good news!  On May 6th, 2008, Arizona became the 14th state to adopt the Pavley standards – hooray for a swelling of the ranks!  The state legislature tried to stand in the way by pulling a Florida move (see nefariousness below) and passing a bill that prevented the Department of Environmental Quality or any government agency in Arizona from adopting or enforcing any greenhouse gas standards.  Lucky for us - and even more lucky for Arizonians - Governor Napolitano vetoed the bill (PDF)! Congratulations Arizona!

Now on to the not-so-good news.  On April 30th, the state legislature in Florida passed a comprehensive energy bill that contains, among other things both nefarious and nice, an additional hurdle to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles in the state - an amendment that requires the Governor to send clean car standards to the legislature for approval before they can be implemented.  As Governor Crist has made comprehensive energy legislation one of his main priorities, he is expected to sign the bill into law in June.  But Crist has also committed to bringing clean car standards to Florida – and we'll be working to make sure that in the administrative track meet that is the ongoing rule-making process in Florida, said hurdle is cleared.

In further intrigue, the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming was scheduled to vote on a resolution recommending that EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson be found in contempt of Congress for his refusal to comply with a subpoena they had issued seeking communications between Mr. Johnson and the White House prior to the Administrator's denial of California's waiver. At the last minute, however, the Administration agreed to make more documents available, and the vote was canceled.  Stayed tuned for more on this story...

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