Obama to Issue Environmental Orders Monday

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 26 Jan 2009 02:11:00 GMT

The New York Times (John Broder and Peter Baker) and Washington Post (Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson) report that President Obama “plans to instruct key federal agencies to reexamine two policies that could force automakers to produce more fuel-efficient cars that yield fewer greenhouse gas emissions” Monday morning.

Obama’s main directives relate to California’s petition for an Environmental Protection Agency waiver to regulate tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the 2007 Energy Policy Act’s raised fuel economy standards. Under Bush, the EPA denied the California waiver and the Department of Transportation failed to issue the standards called for under the energy act.

In addition, the president will direct federal agencies to take steps to increase efficiency and reduce pollution.

From the Times:
Mr. Obama’s presidential memorandum will order the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider the Bush administration’s past rejection of the California application. While it stops short of flatly ordering the Bush decision reversed, the agency’s regulators are now widely expected to do so after completing a formal review process. . . .

Beyond acting on the California emissions law, officials said, Mr. Obama will direct the Transportation Department to quickly finalize interim nationwide regulations requiring the automobile industry to increase fuel efficiency standards to comply with a 2007 law, rules that the Bush administration decided at the last minute not to issue.

To avoid losing another year, Mr. Obama will order temporary regulations to be completed by March so automakers have enough time to retool for vehicles sold in 2011. Final standards for later years will be determined by a separate process that under Mr. Obama’s order must take into consideration legal, scientific and technological factors.

He will also order federal departments and agencies to find new ways to save energy and be more environmentally friendly. And he will highlight the elements in his $825 billion economic stimulus plan intended to create jobs around renewable energy.