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Obama to Allow CA Emissions Standards   January 26th, 2009
Will allow California to establish stricter automobile emissions standards       


More observations...

President Obama is about to make an announcement instructing the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider California's request to allow California to establish tighter automobile emissions standards. While normally I would support this as a matter of states' rights, the problem is that given the size of California's market, it effectively allows California to dictate national emissions standards.


In one key move, Mr. Obama is aiming toward letting California and other states set their own tailpipe emission standards, a tool for reducing the gases that contribute to global warming...

On car emissions, California needed a waiver from the Clean Air Act to pursue its own course; the Bush administration's Environmental Protection Agency denied that permission, which affected at least 13 other states that have followed California's lead.

Again, the problem here is that California can set up its own ambitious emissions standards and that due to the size of its market, automobile manufacturers will not be able to ignore it. They will be forced to invest money in meeting the California requirements during a time when money is something the automobile industry doesn't have. Meanwhile, citizens in other states will have no voice or vote in setting the standards or whether they even want the standards right now.

This is a case where a state decision actually has a major impact on interstate commerce, something that is under the jurisdiction of the federal government. It's not practical for every state to have its own emission standards for automobiles and it seems to be a tactic to short-circuit a national debate on appropriate emission standards.

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