California vs. the federal governement, Revisited.

Sticking with our California vs. the federal government theme, the EPA released a “final decision” on Friday stating that California cannot regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles more strictly than the system set up by the federal government.

The head of the EPA, in ignoring the advice of his senior staff, ruled that since the purpose of the proposed state law was to address global warming and that since the consequences of global warming were not unique to California, that the proposed law must be preempted by the EPA’s own set of rules which are much more relaxed. (Apparently under the federal Clean Air Act, a state must have “compelling and extraordinary conditions” in order to permit an environmental law to be more stringent than the parallel federal regulation.)

Not surprisingly, the National Automobile Dealers Association fully supports the EPA’s ruling, issuing the following statement: “Any regulation of motor vehicle greenhouse gases should be done at the federal, not state, level.”

Fortunately, the three major presidential candidates have all said they will permit the states to regulate emissions in spite of the EPA’s current ruling. Consequently, this ruling may result in only a year or two delay for the states.

It seems ironic to us that this is the same EPA that only a year ago argued to the Supreme Court that they did not have the authority to regulate greenhouse emissions from vehicles at all. It wasn’t until the court ruled last year that they did, in fact, have this responsibility that they even crafted the rules that are now at issue. Now they are asserting that the very rules they didn’t even have the authority to issue in the first place are now so important that they must trump state regulations. Interesting.

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  • angelinaq mendoza
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