July 26, 2007

SENATOR CARDIN BACKS BILL REQUIRING EPA TO ACT ON CALIFORNIA WAIVER

Favorable EPA Ruling Would Allow Maryland to Impose Tougher Auto Emissions Standards

Susan Sullam: 410-962-4436

 

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, D-MD, has co-sponsored legislation that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rule by Sept. 30, 2007 on whether Maryland can impose tougher emissions standards on all cars and light trucks sold in the state.   The legislation also would require the EPA in the future to rule on all similar requests within six months.

 

Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced the legislation along with eight other senators in response to the failure of the EPA to rule on the new standards application for almost two years.   Known as the "California Waiver," Maryland and 11 other states have adopted the major pollution reduction measure first proposed by California.   The new emissions standards would reduce greenhouse gases by 30% in all vehicles sold by 2016 as well as provide major reductions in summertime smog levels.

 

At an EPW hearing on Thursday, Senator Cardin told EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson that, "I am deeply troubled by the EPA's lack of action on the California Waiver, which has a serious impact on Maryland and other states that want to adopt tougher standards.   Auto emissions are a leading cause of smog and greenhouse gas emissions, and I applaud Maryland's efforts to impose tough, new standards that will benefit all of us."

 

Senator Cardin pointed to a new study conducted in the Washington metropolitan area showing that the waiver could cut projected levels of carbon dioxide by more than four tons in the region by 2020 and nearly six tons by 2030.   "EPA's failure to act will result in tons of additional greenhouse gases polluting the region," according to Senator Cardin.   "That's unacceptable to me and to the people of the Washington metropolitan area and it certainly should be unacceptable to EPA," Cardin concluded.

 

Maryland adopted the so-called "California Car" emission standard earlier this year.   Because of a technicality in the national Clean Air Act, EPA must first approve California's request before the Maryland standard can take effect.   A total of eleven states, which have 30 percent of all cars and light trucks in the nation, have adopted the tougher new tailpipe standards.   Six other states are considering the standard.   None of the state laws can become effective until EPA acts.