California, the perennial thorn in the side of the EPA’s emissions-regulation scheme, has bowed to federal pressure and will wait until September of this year to release its 2017-2025 Model Year emissions standard proposal, by which time the EPA will be ready to announce its own national scheme. Prior to today’s announcement, California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) had “announced its intention” to release its proposal in March, a move which had automakers scrambling to complain to congress of the apparent lack of unity on emissions standards. GM and Chrysler even endured a (somewhat predictable) Naderite drubbing in the WaPo in order to to join the howls against the emerging “patchwork of state and national standards!”
Luckily for the automakers, CARB was willing to play ball. Per the WSJ:
Stanley Young, a spokesman for the California Air Resources Board, said the state agreed to the White House’s timetable after being assured the new fuel-economy targets would be based on studies currently being done on the feasibility of the proposed 62-mpg [by 2025] standard.
The studies are examining the technological and financial ramifications of the proposed standard, he said.
“We’re looking forward to seeing the results of the final data from the engineering studies,” Mr. Young said. He added that the board has always cooperated with the EPA and DOT and plans to continue to do so.
Then why stir up the pot by telling the world that you’ll create a de facto standard while the EPA is still looking at the engineering studies? If CARB was looking for ways to add to its resume of ill-advised overreaches, it succeeded admirably. If, on the other hand, it wanted to be seen as the lead partner in a national standard, it would have agreed to a joint announcement in the first place. Regardless of where the standards are set, surely even CARB understands that a truly national standard is the single most important achievement to be won in this process. Oh, and “making sure all the evidence was duly reviewed before ruling” should probably be the second most important.