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Energy Technologies & Energy Efficiency Projects

Obama Affirms Importance of State Policy Innovation By Making California Emissions Rules a National Standard

The Obama administration announced on Tuesday a comprehensive national standard aimed at improving fuel economy and auto emissions through the implementation of tough new rules for tailpipe emissions and higher fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles, based largely on standards already adopted by California and other states, illustrating how state policy can drive national change.  


RELEASE: Obama concession on emissions standards highlights states' role as leaders on regulation

NEW YORK — Today, Progressive States Network (PSN) lauded President Obama's decision to accept California's tough new 35.5 miles-per-gallon fuel emissions standards. The group hailed today's victory as a landmark example of states' power to set national policy by outpacing federal legislation.

Said PSN's Interim Executive Director, Nathan Newman, "The spin from auto industry executives is that Obama's decision demonstrates the wisdom of letting the federal government set a unified national standard instead of a 'patchwork' of state regulations. In fact, the complete opposite is true. If it weren't for California pushing to set standards that outpaced the Bush Administration's pitifully low ones, there would be no new regulatory framework to enact today."

Transportation Infrastructure Fueled by Gas Tax Increases

One of the biggest topics of conversation in Massachusetts these days is the proposed additional 19 cent gas tax which would go toward roads, bridges, regional transit authorities and public transit improvements throughout the state. More than half of state and local bridges of 20 feet or longer are structurally deficient, while 82 percent of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority's (MBTA) rapid transit rail cars are in poor or marginal condition, according to a report by TRIP. Furthermore, a 2007 report by the Massachusetts Transportation Finance Commission found that “the condition of our roads, bridges and transit systems are all in broad decline”¦we have no money for transit or highway enhancements or expansions without further sacrificing our existing systems and exacerbating our problems.”

Obama Allows California to Adopt Car Emission Standards - New Day for State Regulatory Authority

In a positive step forward for federal respect of state regulatory powers, President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider a previously denied waiver to allow California to set more stringent auto emissions and fuel efficiency standards than required by federal law.  In a statement by the White House, President Obama said "the federal government must work with, not against, states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."  The directive represents not only greater respect for state authority, but also a sharp break from the climate policies of President Obama's predecessor.