Bill would force EPA to OK waiver for stricter California emissions regs

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 8/8/2007

California's wait to begin implementing strict greenhouse gas emissions rules could be nearing an end.

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee reportedly approved a bill requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to grant California a waiver to implement strict vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. The bill was co-authored by Sens. Bill Nelson, D-FL, and Barbara Boxer, D-CA.

California - a state that continues to set the agenda for restrictions and enforcement of vehicle emissions - has the ability to enact pollution standards if it obtains a federal waiver under the Clean Air Act. A dozen other states have emulated California's strict greenhouse gas emissions, though all have awaited an EPA decision for the waiver since California made the request in Dec. 2005.

The California Air Resources Board has made carbon its next target after achieving sharply restrictive requirements for emissions of nitrogen oxide and diesel particulate matter. Though the greenhouse gas measure would affect four-wheelers, a more restrictive measure for trucks is likely on the horizon.

"Passage of the Nelson-Boxer waiver bill sends a signal that EPA should stop stalling and act now on California's request so California and 12 other states can begin setting and enforcing standards on carbon emissions from the transportation sector," Boxer told the Fresno Bee.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in April that the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gasses emitted by vehicles.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer

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