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Monday, January 26, 2009

Obama Orders Fuel Economy & California Tailpipe Waiver

Today, President Obama ordered the Transportation Department to issue guidelines that will raise Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard from the current level 27.5 miles per gallon (mpg) to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. The increase was authorized by Section 102 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (H.R. 6).

President Obama is also instructing the Environmental Protection Agency to 'review' the California waiver to regulate automobile tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions. Former EPA administrator Stephen L. Johnson rejected the waiver request citing the passage of H.R. 6. However, California has a tailpipe emissions law that could achieve even higher CO2 reductions by cuting vehicles' greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent between 2009 and 2016. Carmakers have opposed the California rules. Twelve other states will also adopt the California starndards.

AB 32 Fact Sheet -California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 establishes a comprehensive program of regulatory and market mechanisms to achieve reductions of greenhouse gases (GHG) by:

Making the Air Resources Board (ARB) responsible for monitoring and reducing GHG emissions.

Continuing the existing Climate Action Team to coordinate statewide efforts.

Authorizing the Governor to invoke a safety valve in the event of extraordinary circumstances,catastrophic events or the threat of significant economic harm, for up to 12 months at a time.

Requiring Air Resources Board (ARB) to:

· Establish a statewide GHG emissions cap for 2020, based on 1990 emissions byJanuary 1, 2008.
· Adopt mandatory reporting rules for significant sources of greenhouse gases byJanuary 1, 2008.
· Adopt a plan by January 1, 2009 indicating how emission reductions will be achieved fromsignificant GHG sources via regulations, market mechanisms and other actions.
· Adopt regulations by January 1, 2011 to achieve the maximum technologically feasible andcost-effective reductions in GHGs, including provisions for using both market mechanisms and alternative compliance mechanisms.
· Convene an Environmental Justice Advisory Committee and an Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee to advise ARB.
· Ensure public notice and opportunity for comment for all ARB actions.
· Prior to imposing any mandates or authorizing market mechanisms, requires ARB toevaluate several factors, including but not limited to: impacts on California’s economy, theenvironment, and public health; equity between regulated entities; electricity reliability, conformance with other environmental laws, and to ensure that the rules do notdisproportionately impact low-income communities.
· Adopt a list of discrete, early action measures by July 1, 2007 that can be implementedbefore January 1, 2010 and adopt such measures.

Source of Map: The Wall Street Journal 1/26/09)

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