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Administration’s Half-Steps on Global Warming, Fuel Economy Fall Flat

By NRDC (NRDC) - May 15, 2007

Under Pressure from Supreme Court and Congress, White House Makes Only Vague Promises and Still Stands in California’s Way

WASHINGTON (May 14, 2007) – Announcements by the Bush administration today reflect the growing pressure on the White House to address global warming, gas prices and energy security, but offer precious little action, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Indeed, the Executive Order on global warming emissions from cars and trucks entangles EPA in even more red tape.

“Congress and the Supreme Court have backed the White House into a corner on climate and fuel economy,” said David Doniger, NRDC’s climate policy director. “What the administration did today was punt, without proposing any specific standards for cleaner cars and cleaner fuels. Industry wants action. States want action. Voters want action. Looking busy won’t cut it anymore.”

Last month the Supreme Court ruled against administration efforts to duck responsibility for global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act (NRDC joined states and other environmental organizations as petitioners in the case, called Massachusetts v. EPA. And a strong head of steam is building in Congress for stronger fuel economy standards.

Despite the mounting pressure, the global warming order issued by the President in a Rose Garden ceremony earlier this afternoon gives no details or deadlines, instead specifying a bureaucratic process that will drag out until the end of 2008.

While the White House stalls, California and 11 other states (CT, MA, MD, ME, NJ, NY, OR, PA, RI, VT and WA – AZ and NM will join this year) have moved ahead to set their own emission standards for CO2 and other global warming pollutants from new cars and trucks. But the EPA still won’t say whether it will veto the states’ standards.

“In the last 40 years EPA has never blocked California’s emission standards,” Doniger said. “The question today is whether the White House intends to reject Governor Schwarzenegger’s clean car standards.”

“The administration’s plan contains a Trojan Horse that could make global warming worse,” Doniger added. The administration’s proposed legislation sets the stage for pollution increases from motor fuel made from coal, which according to EPA generates *more than twice* the CO2 emissions of ordinary gasoline.