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EPA Revisits California Waiver Decision

Release Date: 02/06/2009
Contact Information: Cathy Milbourn, 202-564-4355 / milbourn.cathy@epa.gov; Contacto en español: Lina Younes, 202-564-4355 / younes.lina@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. – Feb. 6, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will reconsider its decision denying California permission to set standards controlling greenhouse gases from motor vehicles.

The waiver request was made by California on December 21, 2005, to allow the state the right to control greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. The request was denied by then-EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson on March 6, 2008.

On January 26, shortly after taking office, President Barack Obama requested that EPA revisit the matter of the denial.

“EPA has now set in motion an impartial review of the California waiver decision,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “It is imperative that we get this decision right, and base it on the best available science and a thorough understanding of the law.”

The Clean Air Act gives EPA the authority to allow California to adopt its own emission standards for motor vehicles due to the seriousness of the state’s air pollution challenges. There is a long-standing history of EPA granting waivers to the state of California.

EPA believes that there are significant issues regarding the agency’s denial of the waiver. The denial was a substantial departure from EPA’s longstanding interpretation of the Clean Air Act’s waiver provisions.

EPA received on January 21, 2009, a letter from California outlining several issues for Administrator Jackson to review and reconsider about the previous denial of the waiver. Many other states are interested in adopting California’s standards. Stakeholders and the public have expressed concerns.

EPA will take public comment concerning the reconsideration of the waiver for a period of 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. There will also be a public hearing to be held in March in Washington, D.C.

More information about the California waiver:
http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/ca-waiver.htm