EPA Chief Ignored Staff When Shooting Down CA Tailpipe Regs. Allegedly.

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
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epa chief ignored staff when shooting down ca tailpipe regs allegedly

Newspapers on both coasts are reporting that Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) chief Stephen L. Johnson ignored his own staff's unanimous recommendations when he refused to allow California to set its own CO2 tailpipe emissions standards. The EPA ruling means that California– and all the states that adopted The Golden State's air quality standards– will not be able to trump the new fuel economy mandates [almost] specified in the Energy Bill. "The decision set in motion a legal battle that EPA's lawyers expect to lose and demonstrated the Bush administration's determination to oppose any mandatory measures specifically targeted at curbing global warming pollution," the Washington Post proclaimed, sweeping aside the 1000-page Energy Bill's CO2-diminishing provisions. The LA Times was quick to jump on the "we wuz robbed" bandwagon. "The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ignored his staff's written findings in denying California's request for a waiver to implement its landmark law to slash greenhouse gases from vehicles, sources inside and outside the agency told The Times on Thursday." Just in case the EPA's opponents need more goading, the Times also reported that "In a PowerPoint presentation prepared for the administrator, aides wrote that if Johnson denied the waiver and California sued, 'EPA likely to lose suit.'" While Johnson's reasoning is sound– better a national standard than a patchwork of state regulations– the environmentalists are screaming blue murder. This one will run and run.,

Robert Farago
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  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Dec 25, 2007

    Ah, but let's get creative, after all, we are playing the part of the Cali legislature. CO2 Tax levies in new automobiles: Under X amount of CO2 = $0 Over X = $15,000 Actually, apply any amount you want. The power to tax is the power to rule. Once again, the majority will vote for it. The actual rich (aka the powerful), will not care. The upper middle class will not get some of their toys. The result: More and more older cars will end up being kept on the road, same as all schemes which increase taxes on auto purchases. Also, more poor people die, because they are the ones who primarily drive the older, less safe cars.

  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Dec 26, 2007

    The one idea that we're all dancing around is externalities. There are certain things that we don't directly pay for, but have effects down the road that impact others in a bad way. Pollution, wasting resources, and lower purchasing power appear to the big three here. The free market folks believe that people will simply stop buying the pollution spewing vehicles once the free market compels them to do so. Unfortunately, externalities have little or any direct effect on the one making the decision. Hence that won't work. The pro-California folks believe that people will simply follow California's role in due time as it relates to these new regulations (that really is the motus operandi). Unfortunately, that has limitations as well since politicians on both sides of the proverbial fence tend to flock together instead of listening to others. Some will seek it, many will fight it, and not much will really get done. That's why I believe both sides of the fence should simply walk away from their positions and embrace the Vladamir Putin way. He will determine what is right for the country. Anyone who disagrees will soon find themselves on a long-term vacation in some of the less hospitable parts of the world (like Fresno). The press will glorify the decision, dissent will be squashed, bribes will help certain government officials become more efficient (and rich!), and the world will go on believing that we are headed in the right direction. Then again, George Bush is no Boris Yeltsin... but why quibble over the small things in life. What's that about voting? On this issue? Educating the public? Naaahhhh!!!!

  • Borderinsane Borderinsane on Dec 26, 2007

    Steven Lang @ 02:08 Gulag Fresno... Snicker.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Dec 26, 2007

    Speaking as a freemarket person, I believe you mischaracterize our position. I would recommend that you make the externalities affect the buyer through taxes on pollution. The simplest way to do this is through regulating clean engines while taxing fuel. That results in a fairly even tax for per pound of pollution with minimal bureaucratic inefficiency and legislative corruption. The idea that this is unfair to the poor is ridiculous. We all use the air the same, and we all are paying out huge bucks for mass transit. It is a capitalist society, so fairness is about opportunity, not results. If we feel the need to be more than fair, we can further subsidize mass transit with some of the fuel tax revenues. Voting is fair enough. Educating the public is a great idea so long as you realize it will have little effect on behavior, but might influence the vote. Which side's facts will you educate the public with?