Sunday, January 25, 2009

Obama's gives California a waiver for emissions

President Obama (damn do I like writing that) plans to a directive to grant California and several other states waivers to set standards for tailpipe emissions fuel efficiency that are higher than those of the federal government. This is not unusual; California gets these waivers all the time.

Or at least it used to get these waivers all the time. Not so much under the Bush administration. This is just one more example of Obama overturning an idiotic Bush administration policy. Of course, since most Bush administration policies were idiotic, Obama still has a lot of work to do.

The car companies, of course, are not happy about this waiver. They would like more time to develop these fuel efficient cars. They also don't want to build cars to two different standards in the US. The states involved represent about half the cars sold in the US, which effectively makes it a national standard.

I can see the car companies' perspective; it would be a logistical nightmare to build cars to two different standards.

But I have no sympathy for the car companies. None. They have known that this day would be coming for years, if not decades. They've been in denial for years, too.

The auto companies could challenge them in court, but they have been unsuccessful in previous lawsuits.
So I doubt that they will be successful in any lawsuit brought against this waiver. But more important than any legal courtroom, they would lose decisively in the court of public opinion. After asking for a massive bailout, it would take a spectacular act of hubris to fight the Obama administration on this one. Of course, this is the Big Three, so it's possible that they could be that stupid.

And how do environmentalists feel about this turn of events? I like this comment from someone at the Center for American Progress:

“This is a complete reversal of President Bush’s policy of censoring or ignoring global warming science,” Mr. Weiss said. “With the fuel economy measures and clean energy investments in the recovery package, President Obama has done more in one week to reduce oil dependence and global warming than George Bush did in eight years.”
So just think what Obama can do in eight years!

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