Environmental advocates were rightfully outraged last December when the Bush administration denied California's effort to set stricter vehicle emissions standards than federal law required as part of the state's efforts to fight climate change. A spokesmen for the ...
Environmental advocates were rightfully outraged last December when the Bush administration denied California's effort to set stricter vehicle emissions standards than federal law required as part of the state's efforts to fight climate change. A spokesmen for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the White House's decision would minimize the "confusing patchwork of state rules," but many agreed Bush was simply looking out for his friends in the automobile and oil industry. Thankfully, Illinois is fighting back.
In court, we have Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who is one of 18 state AG's fighting to make sure that EPA follows an April 2007 Supreme Court ruling requiring the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. The petition asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to force the EPA to act within 60 days.
In Springfield, momentum is growing to impose stricter guidelines than the Federal Clean Air Act mandates. Rebecca Stanfield, state director of Environment Illinois, told Chicago Public Radio's Eight Forty-Eight yesterday that the Illinois Clean Cars Act (HB 3424/SB2238) could be "in striking distance" of passage in the general assembly this week:
"We're hoping to get to a tipping point where the automakers stop selling dirtier cars in some states and cleaner cars in others and they just sell a 50-state clean car."
Stanfield says the benefits are obvious. Aside from tackling global warming, Illinois drivers could see fuel cost savings of approximately $1.24 billion per year once the cleaner fleet of cars is phased in fully. This "low-ball estimate" would save each driver between $300 and $400 annually:
"$1.2 billion is a lot of money. We think that ... if there's a billion dollars laying on the ground, [the Illinois General Assembly] ought to pick that up, especially if it's good for the environment and good for public health."
Stanfield says that over 15,000 citizens have contacted their legislators and the bill has 35 co-sponsors, a number that is growing by the day. For more info on the bill, check out Environment Illinois' backgrounder.