Big Three backs CAA regulation, cars deal

An interesting development: Yesterday, the industry group for major car manufacturers sent a letter to Congressional leaders opposing Sen. Murkowski’s legislative efforts (discussed by Holly here) to un-do EPA’s greenhouse gas endangerment finding.  The Murkowski resolution, as many have pointed out, would have the result of undoing the federally brokered cars deal set to impose Clean Air Act limits on car greenhouse gas emissions–a deal that industry likes, but that is dependent on the endangerment finding.  E&E has the story here (subs. req’d). 

What’s car manufacturers’ motivation for supporting the federal cars deal and ongoing CAA regulatory authority?  It is California’s continuing ability, hanging over industry’s head, to impose the same GHG requirements if the fed deal falls apart.  From the E&E story:

Alliance President and CEO Dave McCurdy said that if the [Murkowski] resolution passes, California would renege on its half of the deal and enforce its own standards, which would set off a chain reaction with more than a dozen states following suit. “If the One National Program agreement were dissolved, the manufacturers would be back to where they started [before the compromise],” he wrote.

This illustrates one reason why the Obama administration’s mid-summer decision to grant the California waiver, which some characterized as essentially meaningless at the time, still matters. 

Car dealers, unlike car manufacturers, were not parties to the federal cars deal, and they are both supporting the Murkowski amendment and litigating to overturn the California waiver grant.  One thing I’ve wondered about Holly’s post yesterday, pointing out the local public health effects of CO2 “domes” over cities, is whether such local effects will make the California waiver grant more easy to defend.  Judicial review of the waiver decision will be limited to the administrative record, but even still…?

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About Cara

Cara Horowitz is the co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law. The Emmett Institute was founded as the f…

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