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.

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