Bush's New Fuel Economy Rules Look Good... Until You Read All 417 Pages
The Bush administration's plan to make federal fuel economy standards stricter and regulate a mandatory 31.6 MPG fleet average by 2015, an addition to last year's energy bill that mandates 35 MPG by 2020, has been well received so far. Some of our eco-friends even applauded the initiative. But (and there's often a 'but') now that a few experts have had time to read the whole document in its 417 pages glory, a big problem became apparent:
"Tucked deep into a 417-page 'Notice of Proposed Rulemaking' was language by the Transportation Department stating that more stringent limits on tailpipe emissions embraced by California and 17 other states are 'an obstacle to the accomplishment' of the new federal standards and are 'expressly and impliedly preempted' by federal law."
California and the states that decide to adopt its more stringent laws instead of the US federal ones are mighty angry and feel that this is a direct attack on their ability to keep regulating.
Such language in the law would probably also help automakers who are suing California to try to prevent it from creating stricter regulations regarding fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions.
The Supreme Court ruled in the Massachusetts vs. EPA case last year that the Transportation Department's authority to set fuel economy standards should not impede other efforts under the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gases. California traditionally has had special authority under the Clean Air Act to set limits on air pollutants that are tougher than federal standards.
Who will prevail in this battle of titanesque bureaucracies? The US federal government? The states' governments? We're not sure, but we suspect that the environment will be hurt by the power struggle. So much wasted time and effort...
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