(Jun 22, 2007)

EPA will act on California's request to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by end of 2007

By Erica Werner
From AP

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday it will rule by the end of the year on California's long-standing petition to implement greenhouse gas reductions on automobiles.

The law can't take effect unless California gets a federal waiver. While the federal government has authority to make air pollution rules, California has unique status under the Clean Air Act to enact its own regulations as long as it receives permission from the EPA. Other states can then follow either the federal or California standards.

At least 11 other states _ Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington _ are ready to implement California's emissions standards if it gets the waiver.

EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson disclosed the year's-end timeline in a letter to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The governor's spokesman said there was no change in plans to sue if EPA doesn't act by Oct. 22 on the request for the federal waiver, which is needed to enact the state's tailpipe emissions law.

California filed the waiver request in December 2005, but EPA put off considering it until the Supreme Court ruled in April that the agency has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

At issue is a 2002 California law that requires automakers to cut emissions by 25 percent from cars and light trucks and 18 percent from sport utility vehicles starting with the 2009 model year. Officials estimate this would lead to an 18 percent reduction in global warming emissions from cars in the state by 2020.

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