|Obama: Let states limit car emissions|
|Written by Marjorie Holt|
|Tuesday, January 27 2009|
The Associated Press
January 27, 2009
For a decade, environmentalists and states have urged the federal government to limit greenhouse gases from car tailpipes.
On Monday, President Barack Obama took a step toward making it happen.
He ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider letting California, 16 other states and the District of Columbia control the amount of greenhouse gases -- mainly carbon dioxide -- in truck and car exhaust.
It was the clearest signal yet the Obama administration plans to regulate the emissions blamed for global warming.
The Bush administration repeatedly refused to use existing law to control greenhouse gases, despite increasing scientific evidence that the Earth is warming and court rulings that said the government has authority to act.
Should the EPA grant California and other states permission to reduce greenhouse gases from automobiles, experts say federal regulations will soon follow, then limits on emissions from refineries and industrial plants.
"There is little question that this is heading in the direction of federal regulation of carbon dioxide," said Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.
Greenhouse gases from automobiles currently are not regulated by the federal government, and the Bush administration opposed state efforts to set their own restrictions, despite requests dating back to 1999.
The Bush administration instead focused on improvements to fuel economy as a way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, because cars and trucks burning less fuel would generate less pollution.
On Monday, in a separate action, Obama directed the Transportation Department to set new fuel-economy standards for 2011 model-year automobiles.
Both actions will reduce greenhouse gases but could put the states and the federal government on slightly different courses.
Copyright © 2009, Orlando Sentinel
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