Thursday, December 20, 2007

And This Is Surprising How?

All that stood between California and the state's imposition of higher standards for greenhouse gas emissions was a waiver by the EPA. California had already convinced a federal judge that the auto industry could and should be forced to clean up its act by state regulations under a provision of the Clean Air Act that allowed states to impose stricter standards if it could get a waiver from the EPA. Well, the head of the EPA, a typical Bush appointee, has denied the waiver and has done so despite the recommendations of his own staff, according to an article in today's Washington Post:

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson yesterday denied California's petition to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, overruling the unanimous recommendation of the agency's legal and technical staffs. [Emphasis added]

And the reason given by Mr. Johnson for this denial? The new energy bill signed into law by President Bush on the same day. Apple, meet your brother Orange. As the Los Angeles Times pointed out in their coverage of the story, the California law went beyond and in a different direction than the new CAFE mileage standards:

Although the energy bill requires a fleet-wide average of 35 mpg by 2020, California officials say the state law would result in a 36-mpg average four years earlier.

California's law would also regulate a broader spectrum of greenhouse gases, including refrigerants from vehicle air conditioners, and it governs the emissions of a range of alternative fuels, not just gasoline.

The California law is not just interested in mpg, although that certainly is a significant part of the effort, it also looks to emissions, which is an even more significant part of the global warming effort. Whether the vehicle is powered by gasoline, or biodiesel, or ethanol, or any combination of fuels, what comes out of the tailpipe is what is damaging, a fact that Mr. Johnson apparently can't get the corners of his head around.

And so, California and the other states which had planned to implement similar measures are off to court in a case which the EPA knows it will lose. Money the states and the federal government can ill afford will be tied up in litigation simply to satisfy an industry that isn't interested in cleaning up its act, only in making more money.

And in the mean time, the air Californians breathe will continue to be fouled and the planet will slip further into an irreversible degradation.

Heckuva job, Mr. Johnson.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephen L. Johnson, so-called "career scientist" on government web sites and in news stories, has a freakin' "honorary doctorate" from Taylor University and was the head of operations at Hazelton Laboratories before he went to work for the EPA. Guess what kind of "research" they do at Hazelton Laboratories? They do health and safety testing for. . .wait for it. . .the big tobacco companies. Wow, this guy must be the very model of integrity. (Oh, more recently, there working on genetically modified milk safety test for Monsanto.)

Fittingly (and tellingly) the Sierra Club described his appointment to head of the EPA as "the best we could expect as a nominee from the Bush administration".

7:21 AM  

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