It’s time to end Washington’s “We know what’s best for you” grip on this country. The latest incident is the Environmental Protection Agency’s denial of California’s bid for greenhouse gas limits on cars, trucks and SUV’s. The landmark regulations would have resulted in a 30 percent reduction in tailpipe greenhouse emissions in new cars and trucks by 2016, with cutbacks beginning in the 2009 model year. The EPA’s action was taken according to rules of the Clean Air Act, which says the state needed a federal waiver to implement the rules.
The EPA, in refusing the waiver, said the Bush administration was forging a national solution rather than accepting a patchwork of state regulations. At least 12 other states have adopted the California standards with four planning adoption. That, it appears, would qualify as a “patchwork” of standards.
But wait a minute. If the California standards were adopted, car makers could just go ahead and bring their product up to that level and sell the vehicles anywhere they wish. What’s the problem here? Everybody would win with less pollution and more fuel efficient cars and trucks nationwide. Sounds like some smoke and mirrors to me, and if they sell that kind of drivel to the public, we need a better system of education. But the feds are going to hold their ground, so I have a plan, and here’s the challenge. Call a meeting of all state governments, have them sit down and discuss the issue, agree on a set of standards, then go home and make them law. It won’t happen overnight, but think about it.
California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington have already adopted the California emissions standards. Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Utah said they plan to adopt them, and I suspect the population figures in those states alone would be enough to get the auto makers off their butts and start serving their customers wants and needs.
If the states band together, then there is no patchwork legislation for automakers to contend with, it’s a mandate putting the automakers feet to the fire. They can manufacture and sell the vehicles that don’t meet the state’s standards in states that haven’t passed legislation, but I doubt they’d do that. All fifty states would win, even those who don’t pass legislation. They’ll get cars with the new standards too, but I know there’s strength in numbers so the more states who get on the bandwagon, the better.
To me, this gets down to some basic states-rights issues, especially following a string of court decisions allowing states and the federal government the right to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said his state will appeal the decision, have it overturned, and turn control of California’s environmental needs over to the citizens of that state. If you’ve forgotten, have a look at a smoggy day in good old L.A.
So OK, Governor Schwarzenegger, I challenge you to get on the phone, arrange a meeting of all states concerned and force the issue. Ask those states that have already adopted California’s regulations to bring lawsuits, just as you have, to force the government’s hand. You have the population numbers, as do all the states, to bring control back to the people.
It’s all about money, and you now have the opportunity to wield the “big stick”.