In a welcome move, the federal government has finally gotten out of the way of a number of states, including Maine, that want to adopt stringent regulations on greenhouse gases that come out of the tailpipes of vehicles on the road.
On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, gave California long-sought permission to impose such regulations on new vehicles. That paves the way for states that have adopted the same standards as California to impose tighter rules on tailpipe emissions — a key step in creating a national demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles as well as reducing our national addiction to fossil fuels.
That so-called “waiver” from the more lax federal emissions rules was denied by the EPA under the Bush administration, a denial that led to a long and costly battle with states that, like Maine, wanted to attack one of the biggest sources of climate change.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is near the top of the Maine Climate Action Plan, a blueprint for state action that reflects the fact that transportation contributes almost half of Maine’s total carbon emissions.
Gov. John Baldacci, a Democrat, issued a statement hailing the decision on Tuesday, as did many others from both sides of the political spectrum, including Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins and California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
We’re pleased to see that the federal government was supported in this move by a bipartisan group of leaders who recognize that when the climate changes for the worse, or the price of imported oil is hiked into the stratosphere, it doesn’t matter what part of the political spectrum you’re on.
After far too much time passed since this worthwhile conservation initiative was first broached, and far too many resources were expended fighting it, it turns out that increased fuel efficiency is a goal we can all get behind.