Schwarzenegger in Washington to speed California regulation of auto emissions

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger delivering keynote address for Newsweek’s Global Environmental Leadership Conference today at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Photo by William Foster, Office of Governor Schwarzenegger

WASHINGTON, DC — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson in to push California ‘s request for a federal waiver to restrict auto emissions.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling saying that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases, which led the agency to take steps toward reviving California ‘s petition for a waiver.

“Last week’s Supreme Court ruling opened the door for California to move forward in setting our own strict vehicle emission standards to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Governor Schwarzenegger.

“Today, I am calling on the federal government to expedite our request for a waiver which will allow us to carry on the fight against global warming. Californians want to be free to protect the environment and we deserve nothing less.

“With technology that exists today, California ‘s vehicle emissions standards are eminently achievable — It is not a matter a technological ability, it’s a matter of political will.”

Schwarzenegger on Treasure Island for signing of September 28, 2006, state legislation regulating carbon emissions to combat global warming.
Photo by Bill Wilson

To participate in the meeting, Governor Schwarzenegger invited former Assemblymember Fran Pavley who authored California ‘s landmark legislation in 2002 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles on which the federal waiver request is based. Linda Adams, California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection also attended.

Under the federal Clean Air Act, California has the right to set its own vehicle emission standards, and other states have the right to adopt the California standards as their own. Ten other states have adopted California ‘s vehicle emissions standards including: Vermont , New York , New Jersey , Massachusetts , Connecticut , Maine , Rhode Island , Pennsylvania , Washington and Oregon . New Mexico , Arizona and Maryland are in the process of adopting California ‘s standards.

On December 21, 2005 , the California Air Resources Board (ARB) requested a waiver of federal preemption of California ‘s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards. The waiver would allow California to enact emissions standards to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. The waiver was requested after the ARB developed regulations based on the 2002 California law. In addition to the waiver being stalled in the federal process, the law faces a legal challenge by automakers.

In letters sent on April 10, 2006 and October 24, 2006 to President Bush, the Governor reiterated the urgency of approving California ‘s request to address global warming.

Photo by Bill Wilson

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