Tag Archives: Clean Car Legislation

Cheney Behind Efforts to Kill Washington and California Clean Car Laws

A number of news sources now point to the fact that Dick Cheney was heavily involved in the EPA’s recent decision to try to void California’s, Washington’s and 15 other state’s attempts to enact Clean Car Legislation to restrict car emissions.

Last Thursday from Los Angeles Times 12/20/2007

“Johnson said California’s request was unlike others that had been granted by his agency that covered “pollutants that predominantly impacted local and regional air quality.”
He said the EPA acted after he and his staff reviewed more than 100,000 written comments and “thousands of pages of technical and scientific documentation.”
Asked if there was White House influence, Johnson said, “My decision was an independent decision.”

Last Friday from Los Angeles Times 12/21/2007

“The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ignored his staff’s written findings in denying California’s request for a waiver to implement its landmark law to slash greenhouse gases from vehicles, sources inside and outside the agency told The Times on Thursday.”California met every criteria . . . on the merits. The same criteria we have used for the last 40 years on all the other waivers,” said an EPA staffer. “We told him that. All the briefings we have given him laid out the facts.”” …

…three sources said, Johnson cut off any consultation with his technical staff for the last month and made his decision before having them write the formal, legal justification for it. “It’s very highly unusual,” said one source with close ties to the agency.Normally the technical staff would be part of the final decision-making process, including briefing the administrator and writing the formal legal document before his decision. In this case, the briefings were done, but the formal finding has yet to be drafted. …

Some staff members believe Johnson made his decision after auto executives met with Vice President Dick Cheney and after a Chrysler executive delivered a letter to the White House outlining why neither California nor the EPA should be allowed to regulate greenhouse gases, among other reasons. The Detroit News reported Wednesday that chief executives of Ford and Chrysler met with Cheney last month.”Clearly the White House said, ‘We’re going to get EPA out of the way and get California out of the way. If you give us this energy bill, then we’re done, the deal is done,’ ” said one staffer.”

Detroit News November 2, 2007:

Vice President Dick Cheney met with the CEOs of Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC in recent days in the wake of a push on Capitol Hill for dramatically higher fuel economy requirements.
Cheney met Wednesday with Chrysler Chairman and CEO Robert Nardelli and on Oct. 24 with Ford Motor Co. president and CEO Alan R. Mulally, officials told The Detroit News. … The companies declined to confirm or deny the meetings. Lea Anne McBride, a spokeswoman for Cheney, declined to comment.

Numerous other meetings have taken place between automobile representatives and the Bush Administration. In fact the White House even has a picture posted on its website from last year. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney meet with automotive CEOs Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006, in the Oval Office. The automobile industry has opposed higher fuel efficiency standards for the last 20 years. In the past they also opposed seat belts, higher collision standards and air bags.

Cheney has been Bush’s point person on stopping efforts to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions from cars and trucks. For almost seven years they held off efforts to protect the health of our families, cities and our environment. For those naysayers in the press and other who try to equate the Democratic Congress with the previous Republican run Congress, let me tell you – there is no comparison.

The just passed energy bill which increased fuel efficiency standards and set up efficiency standards for appliances was a step that only a Democratic Congress was going to pass. They did it despite the efforts of Bush and Cheney and the Republicans to stop it.

The Clean Car legislation from California and Washington State and other states goes even further. The refusal by EPA’s Johnson to grant the waiver to move ahead with tougher emissions standards is going to be challenged in Court. The people want action to deal with global warming and climate change, not the obstruction coming from the Republicans and Bush and Cheney.

But being a Democrat I suppose I should not fret too much. Each action by Bush and Cheney to delay action on global warming only makes a stronger case for why people need to vote Democratic in the 2008 elections. Change is needed away from the corporate oligarchy that Bush and the Republicans have tried to impose on America. Its time to take the country back from the corporations.

Gregoire Will Fight Bush on Clear Car Legislation

Governor Gregoire announced today that she will take legal action against the Bush Administration’s rejection of Washington State’s Clean Car Legislation passed earlier this year.

Governor Gregoire said that she has “requested our Attorney General file in support of California’s challenge to this decision as soon as possible.”

As the Washington Post reported earlier, California Governor Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger immediately announced his intention to fight President Bush’s EPA’s decision that was released yesterday.

It is completely absurd to assert that California does not have a compelling need to fight global warming by curbing greenhouse gas emissions from cars,” California Attorney General Jerry Brown said. “There is absolutely no legal justification for the Bush administration to deny this request _ Gov. Schwarzenegger and I are preparing to sue at the earliest possible moment.”

The Associated Press reports that Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski will also join in any legal action.

Today’s decision by the EPA is very disappointing for Oregon and our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming,” Kulongoski said. But he said it “does not diminish my commitment to combat climate change and I will move forward with any legal or administrative means necessary to make sure Oregon can set its own tailpipe emission standards.”

Also according to the Washington Post Maryland will join any legal action initiated. Maryland’s Attorney General Douglas Gansler said

Maryland officials want to join any litigation filed by officials in California, who have said they are preparing a lawsuit.
“We feel like we’re on strong legal ground to bring this suit,” Gansler said in a telephone interview yesterday. “There’s no legal justification for them [the EPA] to deny the request.”

The tailpipe standards California adopted in 2004 would have forced automakers to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in new cars and light trucks by 2016, with the cutbacks beginning in the 2009 model year.

On Wednesday, Bush’s EPA Administrator denied California’s request for a waiver under the US Clean Air Act so they could implement stronger measures to clean up car pollution contributing to global warming and pollution. Washington’ State’s Clean Car Legislation would go into effect when California’s did and would follow California’s standards. Fifteen states in addition to Washington have passed legislation to enact the proposed California standards.

The states that sued the EPA in November to grant a waiver for stricter standards based on California’s proposed standards included, in addition to California, Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Oregon and Washington.

Bush’s EPA Kills Washington’s Clean Car Legislation

The Environmental Protection Agency has continued oilman Bush’s reactionary campaign against those working to reduce global warming. Wednesday, Bush’s EPA denied a waiver to California allowed under the Clean Air Act to set its own vehicle emission standards. The action thwarts efforts by 17 states, including Washington State, to set stronger fuel efficiency standards for vehicles than that of Congress. See also NY Times

Anyone who thinks Bush has had a recent change of mind or heart regarding his past efforts opposing strong actions to reduce global carbon dioxide is mistaken. George Bush is still a corporate oilman at heart; and profit, not the future of the earth is his God. For all of Bush’s professed religious righteousness, it seems he has forgotten some of his God’s admonitions to
provide wise stewardship of the earth.

Bush opposed until the bitter end the energy legislation just passed by Congress to raise fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. He and his fellow Republicans in the US Senate weakened the legislation passed by forcing removal of provisions that would have shifted some $13 billion in tax breaks from the oil industry to renewable energy programs. Also removed were provisions calling on states to institute a goal of achieving 15% of the their energy being generated by renewable energy.

In the Washington Post today Bush is quoted as saying, “The question is how to have an effective strategy. Is it more effective to let each state make a decision as to how to proceed in curbing greenhouse gases or is it more effective to have a national strategy

The fact is that we have only one state making a decision – California and that they want to implement fuel efficiency standards faster and tougher than what Congress passed. The other 16 states say they want to implement what California does. The Clean Air Act says they can do that.

Senator Barbara Boxer on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer tonight noted that the just passed energy bill mandating Federal fuel efficiency standards explicitly stated that nothing in the Act diminished the right of states under the Federal Clean Air Act to set higher state standards for air quality.

Senator Boxer said to expect that California and other states will go to Federal Court to challenge and overturn Bush’s decision. Despite the news media seeming attributing this as a decision of the EPA, the fact is that this is a Bush decision.

Senator Boxer reported that Congress will be investigating the denial of the waiver by Bush. A report in the Washington Post said the final decision by the EPA per se was contrary to the internal advise within the EPA.

As reported by the Washington Post,

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., sent a letter to EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson demanding “all documents relating to the California waiver request, other than those that are available on the public record.”

Waxman told Johnson to have EPA staff preserve all records. The decision against California “appears to have ignored the evidence before the agency and the requirements of the Clean Air Act,” Waxman wrote. He asked for all the relevant documents by Jan. 23.”

If only we had a President that spent as much energy trying to solve global warming problems we face instead of trying to obstruct efforts to take action. Bush and the Republican Congress could have enacted stronger fuel efficiency standards years ago.

Americans need to realize that it was the Republicans that did not take action on this issue for years, not the Democrats. And with only a slim 51 vote majority in the US Senate this year and 60 votes needed to end a filibuster, Republicans continue to hinder needed action. Congress is not the problem – it is the Republicans in Congress and President Bush that have avoided acting earlier on global warming.

Only with a change of leadership to Democrats in the Presidency and a 60 vote Democratic majority in the Senate will we move forward without so much obstruction from Republicans that are so beholden to the wishes of the corporations over the general welfare of the American people and our environment.