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Washington Watch

Do-Over: Appeals Court Forces Bush Administration to Rewrite Auto Regs--Again!

Judiciary Is Telling Administration to Feel the Warmth: Consider Global Warming When Developing Auto Rules

The Bush administration's fuel economy standards for many sport utility vehicles, minivans and pickup trucks have been rejected by a federal appeals court because they set a zero value on reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

This time, it was the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals that ordered a "do-over" to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ruling that a full Environmental Review of the gas mileage standards must include larger vehicles.

Last year, the Supreme Court order the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to "do-over" its ruling to include global warming in its consideration of environmental regulations.

Thursday's ruling, written by Senior Circuit Judge Betty Binns Fletcher, found against the administration's decision to exempt SUVs and light trucks from fuel-economy standards.

How many "do-overs" does an Administration get? Clearly an Administration can run out its eight years in office promulgating rules that are overturned and then doing it all over again. Sounds like an argument for Instant Replay--or some way of expediting issues so that they don't take nearly a decade to resolve. But what would that look like in this instance?