EPA denying California waiver for CO2 emissions

Topics: Regulation
20 Dec 2007

From: Ervan Darnell

The EPA refused to grant California a waiver to impose stricter CO2 emissions standards. [1]

Good. I don't say this because mileage standards are a bad idea (even though they are) or because Bush is right that the feds have a plan (they don't really).

Rather, it's because there is a ratchet effect that should be resisted. Had a state petitioned for a waiver for a _higher_ pollution standard, it never would have been granted. But a petition for more regulation will be granted. Thus, the individual gets to lose twice, once at the state level and once at the federal level. It's the same argument for the environmentalists who are all upset about this. If they actually had a precedent that said states could do what they wanted with regard to pollution, they'd be apoplectic. They are claiming EPA does not have jurisdiction only so long as the decisions go their way.

On the Newshour tonight, Barbara Boxer argued that California had usually been granted EPA waivers before. An ex-EPA employee pointed out that those waivers for were local pollution problems. California was given jurisdiction over it's own problems. But CO2 and global warming are not like that at all. He's right. The Democrats are wrong. For one state to rush ahead is just empty symbolism, or gratuitous Bush bashing.

States' rights? Sure, if we had some, I'd be all for it. But letting the states only go one direction and not the other, is not really states' rights at all. It's like saying states can pass more gun control laws but can preempt any federal ones. That's a contrivance seeking an outcome, not 50% liberty.

[1] http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/20/california.emissions/index.html

Ervan Darnell
ervan@kelvinist.com http://www.kelvinist.com

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