Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More evil from the current federal administration

Seems that there were some very underhanded tactics used to keep CA from imposing stricter emissions standards than the rest of the nation.

The debate is being framed as whether an individual state should be permitted to pass its own regulations. When phrased this way, it seems a bad idea. MI would let cars emit nerve gas as long as the UAW could keep its rolls up. But this isn't the issue. Rather, it's about whether an individual state can impose restrictions that are tighter than those of the federal government. This is about a state's right to voluntarily do more than the minimum.

If a state wanted to hold itself to more than the minimum education standards, more than the minimum wage, or more than the minimum in construction and safety standards, no one would bat an eye. Smarter kids? More money? Safer buildings and roads? OK!

But in this case, US auto manufacturers fear that their fleets, which still skew more heavily to profitable trucks and SUVs and thus have lower weighted average fuel economy, will be less competitive in CA. Anyone driving around the Bay Are can tell you from the over concentration of Priuses shows their fleets are already woefully behind the standards of CA citizens. The regulations would probably make things worse for US manufacturers, but they've had years and years to get green. They could have led the change. Now they'll pay the price for being wrong and not anticipating customers' shifting preferences.

The EPA ought to get out of the way when a state wants to do more for the environment. And given that CA air blows east to the rest of the US, the rest of the country should be grateful. I really don't know how the people in this administration live with themselves.