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Oracle of Delphi

Bush orders cuts in oil use, greenhouse emissions

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Bush orders cuts in oil use, greenhouse emissions!

Harry Stoffer | Automotive News

May 14, 2007 - 2:09 pm

UPDATED: 5/14/07 4:27 P.M.

WASHINGTON -- President Bush today issued an executive order for administration departments to prepare regulations by the end of 2008 that would cut petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions.

In an announcement from the White House Rose Garden, he alluded to the U.S. Supreme Court decision last month that said the EPA has authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

In a subsequent telephone conference with reporters, agency heads made clear the executive order is meant to be the administration's response to the Supreme Court decision.

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said the goal is to unveil a proposal this year and to have it adopted by the end of 2008. Bush will leave office in January 2009.

Johnson said he cannot judge what the rules will say but noted that the only ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles are to change fuel or increase fuel efficiency.

"It seems logical that we will be pursuing both," he said.

CAFE could be replaced

While Bush's order tells various departments to cooperate, Johnson implied that EPA rules could replace the corporate average fuel economy program, or CAFE, that the Department of Transportation has been administered since 1975.

Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said her department is prepared "to share this experience" with others in the administration trying to write the new rules.

Frank O'Donnell, president of the environmental group Clean Air Watch, said the order appears to be aimed at derailing greenhouse gas rules in California and 11 other states by wrapping the EPA in a "straitjacket of bureaucratic process."

Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., chairman of a special House committee on climate change, called the administration announcement another stalling tactic.

Johnson, as he has testified to Congress, said his agency is moving "expeditiously but responsibly" to deal with the global warming threat.

Bush said in his brief remarks that rules "are no substitute for good legislation" and that his 20-in-10 proposal should be the starting point.

He unveiled the proposal in his State of the Union address in January. It calls for cutting gasoline consumption by 20 percent in 10 years, mostly by switching to alternative fuels. It also would raise fuel economy standards by as much as 4 percent a year.

No bill moved

The Democratic-controlled Congress is considering a number of measures to improve vehicle fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gases but has not moved a bill containing the specifics of the administration proposal.

Bush's executive order is directed at the EPA and the energy, agriculture and transportation departments.

Fuel economy standards are the responsibility of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, part of the Department of Transportation.

"Automakers support reforming and raising car fuel economy standards, consistent with the need to preserve jobs and consumer choice," said Dave McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. "Determining the right level for the future will require sound science and engineering, in an open process that involves everyone. Automakers support DOT and NHTSA continuing to set fuel economy standards, and we believe that NHTSA should begin a rule making now to implement the president's plan."

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"Automakers support reforming and raising car fuel economy standards, consistent with the need to preserve jobs and consumer choice," said Dave McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

Thats what is most important to me.

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