Friday, March 06, 2009

Emissions Waiver Battle? It's On...

The California Emissions Waiver was front and center yesterday at a public hearing. The Obama Administration, as has been widely reported, appears prepared to let California go its own way and enforce its own greenhouse gas limitations on vehicles, but automakers--already in dire financial straits-- are fighting back like wounded animals.

If California gets the waiver, it appears that as many as 13 other states will follow its lead, a coalition representing 37% of the vehicle sales.

According to the write-up in the San Jose Mercury News:

"One White House official told the Detroit News that "one national policy for autos would provide the industry with certainty while achieving our environmental and energy independence goals."
At the hearing, automakers and dealers sounded the same theme, calling for a single national standard. Granting the California waiver would raise costs, burden an industry facing failure and "undermine the opportunity to achieve a national standard," said Michael Stanton, representing international automakers.

But Mary Nichols, who chairs the state Air Resources Board, said she was wary of the push for a national standard because it could take a year or more, while the EPA is on track to decide the California request by May or June."

In a kind-of-related matter, both David Baker in the San Francisco Chronicle and Margot Rooselvelt in the Los Angeles Times took note of the fur that's flying over CARB's proposal to stack the deck against ethanol in favor of oil and other fossiel fuels in determining its Low Carbon Fuel Standard.