With the Bush administration asleep at the wheel, states have been forced to take the lead in combating global warming. Last year California adopted rules which “will require a 30 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions from cars and light trucks by 2016, a target that will most likely be met by big increases in fuel efficiency.”
The approach is gaining popularity. The New York Times reported last Sunday:
The Bush administration hates the California plan, and industry has challenged it in court. But George Pataki of New York and other Eastern governors have pledged to emulate it — which means the states may end up carrying a ball that Congress dropped. That would not be a bad thing at all.
Yesterday, the Bush administration released new federal fuel efficiency standards. (Not surprisingly, the standards will do little to increase fuel efficiency and may actually encourage automakers to produce bigger, more inefficient vehicles.)
Buried on page 150 of the draft rule is a provision that would totally undermine state efforts to curb CO2 emissions:
[A] state may not impose a legal requirement relating to fuel economy, whether by statute, regulation or otherwise, that conflicts with this rule. A state law that seeks to reduce motor vehicle carbon dioxide emissions is both expressly and impliedly preempted.
In other words, no state can have a fuel efficiency rule any different than the federal government. So much for state’s rights.