The Environmental Protection Agency this week granted a waiver of Clean Air Act preemption to California for its greenhouse gas emission standards for motor vehicles. The action taken by the EPA is in response to California’s petition to set strict automobile emission and fuel efficiency standards.
Under Section 209 the Clean Air Act, California has special authority to enact stricter air-pollution standards for motor vehicles than the federal government’s standards. However, California must file a petition with the EPA and meet certain criteria. Other states may adopt California’s standards, but those states’ emissions standards only become effective when California’s petition is granted by EPA.
California’s previous waiver request with the Bush Administration was denied. Soon after President Barack Obama was sworn into office, California officials petitioned the EPA requesting that it reconsider its previous decision to deny the waiver request. Just weeks after California’s renewed request, the EPA ruled that it would reconsider California’s request. This week the EPA officially granted California its waiver.