After a hard-fought battle between the state of California (led by Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) and the Environmental Protection Agency under the Bush administration, that same agency in a new administration has now approved the waiver allowing California to regulate greenhouse has emissions from vehicle tailpipes.
For California to pursue more stringent pollution controls a waiver is required from the Environmental Protection Agency for the mandate to become enforceable. California requested the waiver in 2005, and was consistently denied by the Bush administration despite EPA staffers recommending it be approved, a recommendation initially supported by then EPA administrator Stephen Johnson. After an apparent intervention from Dick Cheney and the White House, Johnson refused to approve the waiver.
The California legislation requires cars to meet increased fuel efficiency standards of 35.5 miles-per-gallon by 2016, resulting in fewer CO2 emissions per vehicle mile driven.
Current EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said in a statement:
This decision puts the law and science first,” adding that granting the request “is consistent with the Clean Air Act as it has been used for the last 40 years.”
Governor Schwarzenegger said that the federal government has finally “stepped up” after years of being “asleep at the wheel.”