Bush Administration Blocks Efforts of the States to Improve Clean Quality

The Bush Administration has blocked an effort by California and other states to require higher emissions limits for cars and trucks to improve the air for their citizens. After waiting and hoping that federal courts would side with industry in litigation over the question, the Administration was forced to come up and oppose the environmental effort when the industry lost in court.

Sixteen states have joined in the California effort to do something about greenhouse gases to counter the efforts of the Bush Administration, which has opposed efforts both domestically and globally to deal with the growing environmental crisis.

This month, a federal district court has ruled against the auto industry’s attempt to stop California from requiring cleaner cars. The ruling of U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Ishii now puts pressure on the Bush Administration to either allow the important environmental measure to take effect or, once again, block an effort to combat greenhouse gases.

California has a unique status under the Clean Air Act — it can require more stringent requirements than other states (which are locked into a national standard on car emissions). Other states can then follow California. California wants to decrease tailpipe emissions from cars, trucks and sports utility vehicles — setting new standards in 2004. The industry sued to block or at least delay the process. They can be expected to launch an appeal in a further effort to delay the standards.

Notably, the Bush administration did nothing to support the state and would not discuss whether it would grant the needed waiver to allow the standards to take effect. The suspicion is that the Administration was hoping that a court would allow it to avoid the embarrassing prospect of again blocking major environmental reform. This forced California and other states to sue the agency in November to force the EPA to act.

The court rejected the industry’s argument that it was the federal government’s responsibility to establish one uniform fuel economy standard. For a comparison of federal and California standards, click here

With its denial, the Bush Administration has confirmed its dubious legacy as the biggest example of “industry capture” in history. The Administration has prevented meaningful reductions on both the international and domestic levels as international scientists have become increasingly alarmed at a global crisis. For years, Bush relied on his own dubious scientific knowledge to reject the conclusions of his own EPA experts in the area. Now, he seems eager to portray a willingness to act but no real action has occurred.

The great irony is that the national clean air act was created to force states to adopt uniform standards after state legislators routinely yielded to special interests. The California exception reflected a view that this was uniformity in the floor of the limits and that the act would allow “good” states to pursue more aggressive measures to deliver clean air to their citizens. The Administration is now using the law to force down the standard and resist cleaner air — the very opposite of the act’s stated purpose.

For the full story, click here

6 thoughts on “Bush Administration Blocks Efforts of the States to Improve Clean Quality”

  1. Everyone should know that there is a 4 volume, 1000+ fine-printed pages per volume, opus waiting for some patient scholar to write concerning the appointments of this president; their hires, and the work the whole lot did in tearing down the regulatory environment, selling off the public commonwealth at firesale prices, and turning the government into a punitive instrument at the service of the private business sector.

    All the scandals have not yet emerged and some will perhaps not.

    A hint to would-be Woodward and Bernsteins: very little of interest happens at the top. Everyone is lawyered-up and act defensively for the most part. Objectionable things are delegated and the real abuses are down at the middle-management level at the agencies. Look there.


  2. Read The LA Times article from December 21st about how the EPA chief ignored his staff in his decision. With this administration you can almost guess correctly what his staffed decided. Thanks

  3. Assuming that the next president wants to clean up the mess. My suspicion is that the next president will quietly enjoy the expanded powers and do little to repair the real damage. Maybe some window dressing type action, but nothing to diminish the power of the executive. No, the responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of the legislature and they have time after time demonstrated that they do not care about exercising those powers.

  4. As they were also all for criticizing due-process claims under the 14th until Bush v Gore that is.

    What did Emerson say?

    A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin….

    The right wing need never fear such beasties. They are absolutely results-orientated cynics.

    That is why the Constitution and laws are to them obstacles to be surmounted, by-passed, or vitiated.

    And we’ve had to deal with this through two administrations of the odious Gipper and and two more administrations of the even more odious Bush.

    The next President will have absolutely no time for new initiatives his/her first term. No, it will take a minimum of 4 years to annul the Executive Orders, clean out the Augean Stables of the Executive, and work with Congress to repair the damages that the Handbasket Party has wreaked on our country.

  5. Isn’t it interesting that these repukes are all for “states’ rights” until it interfers with their master fascism plan? Can’t have the people making the rules, it has to be the corporations. Sigh.

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