The Environmental Protection Agency today reversed one of the most controversial decisions of the previous administration and granted California the Clean Air Act "waiver" that it and more than a dozen other states need to move forward with their landmark global warming emissions standards for vehicles. Today's announcement will be followed by a rulemaking process for the Obama administration's comprehensive national plan for clean cars.
Granting the waiver will allow California and the other states to move forward with standards for the model years 2009-2016. President Obama recently announced a national standard mirroring California's effort to cut global warming emissions from tailpipes 30 percent by 2016. That standard will be in effect for the model years 2012-2016, during which time California and the other states shall defer to the national standard.
This is a huge win for Sierra Club California and the national effort to reduce the pollution that causes global warming! We were a sponsor of the first-ever law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles (AB 1493, Pavley, 2002), and continued to back it through implementation at the Air Resources Board. We have joined Governor Schwarzenegger many times in calling on USEPA to get out of the way and grant CA the necessary waiver to allow our standards to go into effect, and now President Obama has kept his promise to do exactly that. In fact, he's done even better, by establishing a national GHG standard that is based on the California rules. Later this year, ARB will begin the process of setting tighter standards to continue ratcheting down emissions during the 2017-2025 period.