California Judge KO's NHTSA CAFE Regs
One of the less publicized reasons the White House said it will veto the new Energy Bill: the legislation fails to sort out who controls fuel economy standards. It's become an urgent issue since California lawmakers decided CO2– produced in direct proportion to a vehicle's fuel efficiency– is a "greenhouse gas," and thus a pollutant. Hisotrically, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has waived their federal mandate to set air pollution standards, allowing the state to set their own. So when California decided that CO2 was tailpipe poison, they asked the EPA to set a national CO2 standard or get the Hell out of the way. The EPA said hang on, give us a minute, we'll get back to you. California said time's up and filed suit against the feds. As USA Today reports, a California federal judge has now ruled in California's favor, green lighting the state's efforts to set a combined car and light truck fuel economy standard of 43.7 miles per gallon by 2016, with all other trucks to average 26.9 mpg. The move completely usurps the role of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is in charge of monitoring and enforcing federal fuel economy standards. Needless to say, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is sure to appeal the court's decision, taking it all the way to the Supreme Court if needs be. Now do you see why the White House wants Congress to clear up this jurisdictional bun fight? I mean, jeez.