On Saturday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he wanted to strip the EPA of its authority to set standards for cars and trucks that reduce tailpipe carbon emissions. Just a few short years ago, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney had the exact opposite position when it came to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for our vehicles, in Romney’s landmark 2004 Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan:
IMPLEMENT STRONGER VEHICLE EMISSIONS STANDARDS
Massachusetts will adopt GHG emissions standards for new light-duty vehicles. Under Section 177 of the Clean Air Act, work will be as soon as California finalizes its standards. Starting immediately, the Commonwealth will undertake the necessary work to facilitate adoption of the new California standards as soon as they are adopted. In addition, the Commonwealth will work cooperatively with New York, Vermont, Maine, New Jersey, Connecticut, and other states to implement these rules and to seek regional approaches to reduce GHGs from the regional vehicle fleet wherever feasible.
The Clean Air Act authority California and Massachusetts were using to establish their own vehicle emissions standards is the very same legal authority EPA is using to move forward with its own carbon dioxide emissions standards for cars, trucks, power plants, and other very large polluters — authority reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney now says he disagrees with that decision.