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Brown and 14 States Urge Obama Administration to Allow California to Enforce its Greenhouse Gas Emissions Law

Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. and 14 other states yesterday urged the Obama Administration to overturn the Bush EPA’s “shameful denial” of California’s request to enforce its automobile greenhouse gas emissions law.

“The Bush Administration’s shameful denial of California’s waiver fundamentally ignored the serious impacts that global warming is having on our state,” Attorney General Brown said. “The Obama Administration should overturn Bush’s wrongheaded decision and allow California to enforce its greenhouse gas law.”
In a comment letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Attorney General Brown, joined by 14 other states, wrote that under the Clean Air Act, California is entitled to be granted authority to enforce its law and EPA should grant the waiver immediately.

In 2002, California enacted legislation requiring a 30 % reduction in automobile greenhouse gas emissions by 2016. But before the State can enforce its law, EPA must grant a Clean Air Act wavier.

The Bush EPA denied California’s request for such a waiver in 2007, arguing that California did not need the regulation to address 'compelling and extraordinary conditions.' This denial reversed decades of agency practice and ignored the dangerous consequences of global warming to the State of California.

Global warming threatens California's Sierra mountain snow pack, which provides the state with one-third of its drinking water. California also has approximately 1,000 miles of coastline and levees that are threatened by rising sea levels.

In the 40-year history of the Act, EPA has granted approximately 50 waivers to California for innovations like catalytic converters, exhaust emission standards, and leaded gasoline regulations. Until the Bush Administration’s decision, a waiver request had never been denied.

On February 6, 2009, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that the Obama EPA would review the Bush EPA’s denial of California's waiver request.

There are 32 million registered vehicles in California, twice the number of any other state. Cars generate 20% of human-made carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, and at least 30% of such emissions in California.

Brown’s letter was also signed by the New York City Corporation Counsel and 14 other states, including Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Attorney General Brown's letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is attached.

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PDF icon n1711_multi_ag_comment_letter.pdf173.5 KB

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