President Obama to give green light to California Clean Cars Program

According to reports in the New York Times and Washington Post, President Obama is expected to announce tomorrow (1/26/08) that he will instruct federal agencies to act quickly to grant California a waiver to regulate automobile tailpipe emissions and also to raise fuel efficiency standards for the nation's automobiles. NRDC's president, Frances Beinecke, has issued a statement applauding the president, and my colleague David Hawkins has blogged on his reaction to these importants decisions.

Clearly it's a great decision for this country, moving us forward on solving global warming and reducing our dangerous dependence on oil. For those like myself that have worked on the California Clean Cars program since the beginning, this decision marks the culmination of over six years of hard work battling the auto industry to compel them to build cleaner cars.

Needless to say, I personally am thrilled about this decision and extremely happy for the original author of the bill, Fran Pavley, and all those at the California Air Resources Board that worked so hard to make this program one of the crowning achievements of their agency.

I don't think any of us who worked hard to pass the original bill (AB1493 Fran Pavley) realized what we were starting. It's been over 6 long years of regulatory battles, seemingly endless lawsuits, and pitched state-by-state adoption battles (13 states plus DC and counting).

President Obama's decision finally gives the green light for California to continue to lead the way in the fight for cleaner cars. It's been quite a ride, but it looks like the finish line is in sight.