In what may be a largely symbolic action, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it was reversing the Bush Administration and granted California’s request for a waiver of federal preemption to allow the state to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. The saga leading up to the announcement began in 2002 with California legislation (AB 1493, Pavley), which called for new standards for GHG emissions from automobiles. In 2004, California’s Air Resources Board adopted regulations to implement the statute, with new standards set to take effect in 2009. The regulations would reduce GHG emissions from California passenger vehicles by about 22 percent by 2012 and about 30 percent by 2016. The regulations had been stalled by automaker lawsuits and the EPA’s refusal to grant California a waiver.
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