GREENING OF AMERICA: Obama Set To Allow States To Regulate Auto Emissions, Raise Fuel Efficiency


NEW YORK TIMES: President Obama on Monday will direct federal regulators to move swiftly to grant California and 13 other states the right to set strict automobile emissions and fuel efficiency standards, two administration officials said Sunday evening. The directive makes good on an Obama campaign pledge and marks a sharp reversal from Bush administration policy.

Granting California and the other states the right to regulate tailpipe emissions is one of the most dramatic actions Mr. Obama can take to quickly put his stamp on environmental policy. The presidential orders will require automobile manufacturers to begin producing and selling cars and trucks that get higher mileage than the national standard, and on a faster phase-in schedule. The auto companies had lobbied hard against the regulations and challenged them in court.

Mr. Obama will use the announcement of his latest directive to bolster the impression of a sharp break from the Bush era on all fronts. It follows his decisions last week to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, tighten limits on interrogation tactics by CIA officers, order plans to withdraw combat forces from Iraq and reverse Mr. Bush’s financing restrictions on groups that provide or discuss abortion overseas.

Beyond the California waiver, officials said, Mr. Obama will announce that he is moving forward with nationwide regulations requiring the automobile industry to increase fuel efficiency standards, rules that the Bush administration decided at the last minute not to issue. He will also order federal departments and agencies to find new ways to save energy and be more environmentally friendly. And he will highlight the elements in his economic plan intended to create new jobs around renewable energy. MORE

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