Obama White House Likely To Enact Tougher EPA Emissions Regs

January 16, 2009

President-Elect Barack Obama pledged during his campaign to overturn the Bush administration's denial of California's requested waiver to navigate past EPA guidelines, which would allow it and 17 other states to move forward with new laws that further limit vehicle emissions in the fight to curb vehicle emissions and global warming. Obama EPA nominee Lisa Jackson promised quick work to a Senate committee on Wednesday: "if I am confirmed I will immediately revisit the waiver, looking at the science and the rule of law, and relying on the expert advice of EPA's employees in making a determination."

This marks one of the stark differences between Bush and Obama who - despite recent warmth and well-wishes in farewell speeches and the transfer of presidential powers - differ sharply when it comes to governmental regulation of industry, emissions, and environmental conservation. Bush and McCain were closely tied to the mantra "drill, baby, drill," and while Obama eventually admitted to the need for domestic oil exploration as a short-term solution to the fuel crisis in the U.S, he continues to urge new fuel-saving technologies such as gas/electric hybrids, windfarms, and biodiesel research and production (he and Michelle most recently shared a Ford Escape hybrid, shaming McCain's profligate 13-car entourage). And let's not forget the Bush Administration's attempts to stifle scientific evidence of global warming - though this brutal cold wave sweeping the country certainly doesn't seem to fit the trend.

U.S. automakers, predictably, are opposed to more stringent legislation. They and their rapidly diminishing dealer network contest that new fuel economy targets will create a tangled web of state laws as well as driving up costs and hurting sales. But they don't seem in much of a position to argue with the Federal government at present, having borrowed billions to stay afloat (and possibly set to ask for billions more). In addition, GM and Ford's recent wave of direct-injected engines are proving that these automakers, when put to the task, truly can crank out world-class designs that make equal power, lower emissions, and reward drivers with far less fuel consumption. And, yes, that's change we can embrace.

[source: Detroit Free Press]

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