New York State To Cut Greenhouse Gases from Cars
NEW YORK Cars sold or registered in New York state must cut carbon dioxide emissions beginning in 2009, state officials said Wednesday, in Republican Gov. George Pataki's latest break with the Bush Administration over steps to cut greenhouse gases.
Pataki, who is considering a run for president, in May proposed the regulation to cut greenhouse gases from cars. California passed similar rules about a year ago to curb emissions most scientists believe are leading to global climate change.
The decision by New York state's Environment Board represents "an aggressive approach in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to solidify New York as a national leader on air quality initiatives," said Maureen Wren, a spokeswoman for New York's Department of Environmental Conservation.
Pataki and eight other governors in the Northeast also are attempting to regulate greenhouse emissions from power plants through a group called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. That effort has yet to be passed by individual states.
"Now New York is taking an all-encompassing effort to get at global warming both through power plants and transportation," said Kit Kennedy, an attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "New York isn't waiting for President Bush or the federal government to take action," she said.
Bush, who pulled the United States out of the international Kyoto Protocol in 2001, eschews regulations in favor of voluntary means to reduce greenhouse gases.
Last week, Vermont ruled it would cut carbon emissions from cars. Massachusetts, Maine Connecticut and Rhode Island are also moving to adopt similar rules.
The auto industry and regulators differ on whether the regulations fall under fuel efficiency standards, something only the federal government is allowed to regulate.
"Automakers need a consistent national policy for fuel economy, and national fuel economy standards cannot be written by any single state or group of states," said Gloria Bergquist, spokeswoman in Washington for the Alliance of Automobile Manufactures, which filed suit in California to block regulation there.
But regulators say the rule is about auto emissions and not fuel economy and that it gives automakers flexibility in how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
New York's Department of Environmental Conservation estimated that the regulations will cut New York's greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 14.9 million CO2 equivalent tons per year in 2020 and by 26.3 million CO2 equivalent tons per year in 2030.
New York's Department of State will finalize the rule in 30 days, Wren said.