April 25, 2008

President Bush's shameful and unlawful covert attempt to undermine court rulings, the Clean air act and block 18 states from higher fuel standards

Recently the Secretary of the Department of transportation put a proposal to mildly accelerate fuel standards from 3% per year to 4.5% per year up to 2015. However this was a ploy to put circumvent the Clean Air act and block California and several other states from adopting more aggressive car and truck fuel standards.

Jerry Brown called the Bush tactic: This fuel economy plan, while attractive on the surface, is a shameful and unlawful [covert] assault on California's landmark vehicle emissions standard.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and 11 of his counterparts sent a letter to President Bush on Thursday protesting a federal proposal to limit California's right to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from autos.

The letter came two days after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a proposed set of fuel-efficiency standards that included a provision that would override California laws that set limits on carbon emissions from cars.

Thursday's letter called the language "an end run around 40 years of precedent" and said that if the provision was not dropped, the states would sue NHTSA.

In a separate letter, sent to the top four leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the governors called the proposed rule a "cynical attempt . . . to unilaterally rewrite the Clean Air Act and claim authority over greenhouse gas emissions."

Country Current Standard Proposed Standard
China: 36 mpg 43 mpg. (2009)
Canada: 27 mpg (current avg, no standard) TBA (starting in 2011)
United States: 25 mpg (current average) 35 mpg. (proposed, 2020
new proposal 31.5 by 2015
California: 25 mpg (current) 36 mpg. (proposed, 2016)
Europe: 40 mpg (current) 48.9 mpg. (proposed 2012)
Japan: 40 mpg. (current) 48.9 mpg. (proposed, 2015)

Here is how Bush drones were trying to spin the "strengthening of CAFE standards.

On page 387 of the Department of Transportation proposal they had placed

any state regulation regulating tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles is expressly pre-empted.

Some analysts are projecting $200/barrel oil prices and $7 per gallon for gasoline in the United States by 2012

Many electric and fuel efficient cars are and will be available.


Al Fin said...

Unfortunately, Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger know just enough about the economics of environmental regulation to drive out most of the profitable industries from California. Business-wise, the two are a devastatingly destructive duo for the future of the state.

Politically, though, they fit right in with the zeitgeist of suicidal over-regulation that is fashionable on the left coast. California is dying of mismanagement, and the "beautiful people" who run the state either do not see it or do not care.

The North Coast said...

The cost of fuel might do just as much to drive the remaining industries out of the state,as oppressive regulation.

The prevalent sprawl in CA and the rest of the United States in combination with poor fuel efficiency and high fuel prices, will be deadly to all of us here in the states. The problem with CA is that they have, truly, instituted so much absurd and destructive regulation that citizens and businesses are overly sensitized and very resistant to even appropriate regulations, such as this- for you really would think that most Americans would embrace greater fuel economy and conservation without this impetus.

Might I add that stringent conservation will become a matter of survival in the near future whether the regs mandate it or not?

As it is, we would need at least a decade to convert our entire fleet of autos and trucks to greater fuel efficiency, if the stricter standards went into effect tomorrow.

Europe and Japan, who have never had large supplies of petroleum of their own and have always had to conserve, have embraced vastly stricter standards because they know that their economic future depends upon their ability to conserve. We, on the other hand, seem lost in a dreamland where the oil keeps coming just because we want it to, and where reality will flex and bend into infinity just to accommodate our waste and sprawl.

Will oil have to go to $250 a barrel for us to wise up? Let's not let the squeals of the old, obsolete, hopelessly behind-it "American" automakers get in the way of improvements in efficiency that we know are necessary if we want to have motorized transportation on any terms going forward.

al fin said...

The cost of fuel is higher in California than most other states for an excellent reason. Mis-management and over-regulation. The cost of energy in the US overall is higher than it needs to be for the same reasons. The US Congress has not gone as far over the cliff as the California State government, but it is on its way.

If they want to clean up the air of the left coast, they may want to look across the Pacific to China, which is pumping out so much soot and toxic waste into the air that it adds 15% of the pollution load to the left coast.

Try to get China to implement 1/10 of the clean air regulations of the US--AND ENFORCE THEM--and they might get a side benefit of cleaner air on this side of the Pacific.

bw said...

On this topic we obviously strongly disagree Al Fin. We agree on many things but not this.

As my article shows China does have stronger car fuel efficiency standards/laws than the US and California already.

Europe and Japan do as well.

Not pushing for greater efficiency has and will hurt the US car companies.

China's pollution is primarily from coal plants. Up until 2007, the US was generating more air pollution for decades. China can and should do more about its air pollution (building more hydro, nuclear, wind and solar and making some efforts to clean up coal). However, they are not a reason for the US not to do more for its own air pollution. Even if China "was forced" to clean up air pollution, this would not bring any manufacturing jobs back to the USA or California. Plus I do not see how China gets forced.

California has already shifted away from manufacturing other than for food processing (baking, wine, roasted nuts etc..), clothes (LA still generates a lot of fashion), computers and electronics, medical devices, airplanes. Fewer than 10% of California's jobs are manufacturing

california manufacturing jobs

al fin said...

Clearly if anyone is to enforce China's "strict" air quality regulations it would have to be the Chinese--which is what I meant in my earlier comment. Unfortunately, the chances of China actually doing that is close to zero.

California's squawling about this particular issue is largely a public distraction from the vastly more important issue of government mismanagement leading to energy shortages and a dropping revenue base. The loss of businesses (not just manufacturing) from California is an open secret that the morons who run the state still think they are hiding.

California is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, and arguing over where the white chairs should go as opposed to the blue.

bw said...

So the China pollution and fuel efficiency choices are independent from California and US choices.

China's air pollution is still 70% within China.

As is California and the US air pollution. So California and US should clean up our air pollution because it will help 70% of air problem. On a separate track efforts should be made on the foreign 30%.

China is working on its air pollution problems. Recent WSJ article about increased wind energy target for China of 100GW by 2020. Somewhat beyond what was projected last year.

270 GW for hydro 2020
Wind 100-120GW by 2020
60GW for nuclear 2020
85GW natural gas, solar and biofuels

If China can increase energy efficiency and slow energy demand then over half of its energy for electricity could not be coal by 2020. About what the US is doing now. Within 12 years. Pretty good catchup.