Bush Administration's Position on EPA Waiver is All Spin

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A recent New York Times editorial described perfectly the spin that the Bush administration is using to block progressive climate change policy in California.

As the Times points out, “The Clean Air Act of 1970 allows California to set stronger air pollution standards as long as it gets a waiver from the federal government.” But while California has always received waivers in the past – and has led the U.S. in instituting environmentally conscious emission regulations as a result – this particular federal administration has done everything in its power to block action on this issue.

What have been the arguments?

The Bush administration first said that CO2 was not a “pollutant,” under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency. The Supreme Court said, “Yes it is.”

The Bush administration said California’s legislation could result in a “patchwork” of regulations to which industry could not adjust. But the Clean Air Act allows only two sets of rules – and most progressive states are eager to sign on with California’s version.

The Bush administration said that new federal regulations would achieve greater greenhouse gas reductions. This is just fiction. California’s regulations are almost twice as effective.

This mix of half-truth and flagrant misdirection is too typical of this administration and too common on this issue. If there is a reason, other than the eager protection of fossil fuel interests, that should actually prevent California from acting in the interests of its citizens – and leading the nation and the world in addressing climate change – the Bushites should step up and say so. Otherwise – and especially given the lame, lame, lame nature of the duck that currently leads this parade – they should get out of the way.

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