SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today issued the following statement after U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted California a waiver to implement its greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars after a three and a half year wait: “After being asleep at the wheel for over two decades, the federal government has finally stepped up and granted California its nation-leading tailpipe emissions waiver. This decision is a huge step for our emerging green economy that will create thousands of new jobs and bring Californians the cars they want while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Thanks to the environmental commitment of President Obama and the continued leadership of state Senator Fran Pavley, California’s long battle to reduce pollution from passenger vehicles is over, and a greener, cleaner future has finally arrived.”
The Schwarzenegger Administration first requested a waiver of preemption from the EPA on Dec. 21, 2005. California is the only state under the Federal Clean Air Act, with the unique ability to set stricter-than-federal standards for vehicles, as long as it gets a waiver from the federal government. Once California receives a waiver from the federal government, then other states can choose to adopt California’s cleaner standards.
Thirteen other states and the District of Columbia have adopted California’s clean car standards. State officials have made the following statements on the EPA waiver decision:
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley said: “Today’s action is yet another great example of President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency’s common-sense approach to protecting the environment and investing in our clean energy economy. Thanks to California’s clean cars waiver, which sets the stage for 13 other states, including Maryland, half of America’s new vehicle fleet will use proven technology to reduce carbon emissions and to become more fuel efficient.”
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said: “This decision gives us the best of both worlds – it validates the leadership of states like New Mexico that have adopted clean vehicle emission standards while demonstrating strong federal leadership to address transportation-related climate pollution in the future.”
New York Governor David A. Paterson said: “I applaud the decision by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to approve the State of California’s clean vehicle program. The decision is living proof that there is new leadership in Washington. Leadership that recognizes the key role that states can play when it comes to developing environmental policy and leadership that understands the partnership needed to successfully tackle the climate change crisis.”
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said: “From the start, Massachusetts has supported California’s effort to enable itself and other states to regulate tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. I am delighted that the Obama Administration is allowing states to address these emissions which, for Massachusetts and other Northeast states, comprise a significant portion of our greenhouse gas emissions. Coming quickly on the heels of the historic vote on energy and climate legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, this news accelerates our progress toward a clean energy future.”
Vermont Governor Jim Douglas said: “The Obama Administration’s decision to grant California a waiver for its standards restricting greenhouse gas emission from motor vehicles is a significant step in the right direction for Vermont and other states that adopted these standards. My commitment to reducing carbon emissions in Vermont is longstanding as Vermont has been fighting to join California in adopting these standards for some time now.
“As the first state to adopt California’s motor vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards and to successfully defend these standards against legal challenges by the automobile industry in federal court, Vermont is a leader among the more than a dozen states that have adopted these tougher standards.
“Auto emissions are one of the main contributors to greenhouse gas concentrations. This is particularly true in Vermont where the transportation sector accounts for approximately 45 percent of our carbon footprint. That is why reducing an emission from automobiles is so important here in Vermont.
“The Clean Air Act clearly provides states with the right to adopt these emission standards. EPA’s decision to grant a waiver now allows states to enforce these standards. This decision by Administrator Jackson embraces states’ rights and I applaud the EPA action.”
Washington Governor Chris Gregoire said, “I applaud President Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson for taking this much-needed action. We’ve known for years that new standards were needed – that’s why I championed adoption of ‘clean car’ standards for our state’s residents in 2005. Now, thanks to new leadership in Washington, D.C., we finally have it. With these new rules in effect, by 2020 we’ll eliminate pollution in an amount equivalent to removing 1 million cars off our roads and highways in Washington state alone.”
British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell said: “We welcome this decision by President Obama. It represents a victory for California and like-minded jurisdictions such as British Columbia that have taken legislative actions to support cleaner vehicle emissions standards to combat climate change. I would especially like to congratulate Governor Schwarzenegger for his ongoing leadership on this issue and other measures to fight global warming.”
District of Columbia Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said: “In the District of Columbia, this is a climate and air quality issue. We have no major industry in the nation’s capital, so mobile sources of air pollution take on even more importance. Today’s EPA decision will mean cleaner air, and a healthier place to live, work and visit.”