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Washington Watch

Gov. Schwarzenegger To EPA: "I'll Be Back" If CA Greenhouse Gas Regs Not Approved

EPA Better Watch Out, We've Seen This Movie

Better World Club Has Been Following This Story Since 2002

In 2002, then-Governor Gray Davis signed off on a bill that would reduce 25% of greenhouse gas emissions by cars sold in California by 2009. Under this plan, carbon dioxide emissions would be cut by 30% by 2016. So far, so good, right? Unfortunately, the EPA has refused to grant the necessary waiver that the state first requested in December 2005.

Better World Club first reported on this story in the very first issue of Kicking Asphalt ever. The inaugural "AAA Watch" article cites AAA’s concerns about the environmentally progressive legislation, and reaffirms BWC’s support for it, the only auto club to do so at the time.

Now, fast-forward four and a half years. Gray Davis' successor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has taken up this cause, and finally, after all this time, momentum is starting to build in the Governator’s favor. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the EPA must determine whether vehicle emissions are harmful to humans, and, if so, the agency would then be required to regulate emissions under the federal Clean Air Act.

This ruling led to EPA Chief Stephen L. Johnson’s testimony before a congressional committee last week. Senators hammered Johnson, repeatedly asking when the EPA would move on the Supreme Court ruling and California’s waiver request.

With apparently no other foot-dragging options left to him, Johnson is actually going to comply with the will of California residents and US law and hold a public hearing on the waiver on May 22 (presumably 2007, but based on past experience, who knows?).

In addition to the article written in 2002, Better World Club featured an email and letter writing campaign to Administrator Johnson in the November 2006 edition of Driving Change, BWC’s action alert enewsletter. Even though we launched the campaign last November, Kicking Asphalt readers can still support it by checking out BWC's Activism page and sending Johnson an email. All you have to do is choose “California Clean Air Act Exception” from the subject field and help BWC help the EPA to make the right decision.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, though he doesn’t have a snazzy action alert email like ours, is doing his part to keep the pressure on the EPA, stating that he will sue its pants off if they fail to respond to California's request to regulate auto emissions. The EPA has until October to respond.