EPA Recognizes Science, Legal Precedent in Granting State Waiver to Implement Clean Car Standards, Science Group Says

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Elliott Negin
Media Director
202-331-5439
enegin@ucsusa.org

EPA Recognizes Science, Legal Precedent in Granting State Waiver to Implement Clean Car Standards, Science Group Says

WASHINGTON -  Today's
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcement granting California
and 13 other states a waiver under the Clean Air Act to implement
strong clean car standards demonstrates that "with regard to the
waiver, science is back in the driver's seat", said Brendan Bell,
Washington representative for the Union of Concerned Scientists' (UCS)
Clean Vehicles Program. "Along with last Friday's climate victory in
the House, this is another sign that the federal government is finally
taking action on global warming."

Patricia
Monahan, director of UCS's California office and deputy director of its
Clean Vehicles Program, pointed out that the Bush administration's
December 2007 decision was the first and only time that the federal
government has denied California a waiver for controlling vehicle
emissions. By law the state has the right to set its own air pollution
standards.

"California
and other states stepped up to the plate to protect their citizens from
the threat of climate change, when the federal government wasn't even
in the game," Monahan said. "State action to find solutions for global
warming has helped transform political reality at the federal level."

Indeed,
California's groundbreaking work on vehicle tailpipe standards prodded
the federal government to follow suit. In May, President Obama
announced an agreement among the state of California, the federal
government and the auto industry that the EPA and Department of
Transportation will develop standards for heat-trapping emissions from
cars and trucks that will be at least as strong as California's. As
part of this agreement, California is expected to enforce its standards
for 2009 to 2011 and then look to the federal government to implement
equivalent standards for 2012 to 2016. Today's waiver will allow
California to implement even stronger standards in the future. The
state is expected to start developing new standards for the post-2016
model years later this year.

When
President Obama announced the agreement, he called for steady progress,
beginning in 2012, toward a minimum fleetwide standard of 250 grams of
heat-trapping emissions per mile by 2016. A UCS analysis found that
such a standard would:

--
curb U.S. oil dependence by about 1.4 million barrels per day by 2020,
nearly as much as the United States currently imports from Saudi
Arabia.

--
cut 230 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2020, equivalent to
taking 34 million of today's cars and light trucks off the road that
year.

--
provide net savings to consumers of $30 billion in 2020, even after
covering the cost of technology improvements, based on a gas price of
$2.25 per gallon.

-- provide $70 billion in net savings in 2020 if gas prices spike to $4 per gallon.

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The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.

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