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21 Senators Press EPA On Emissions Standards

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Sacramento, CA — 21 senators called on the Environmental Protection Agency today to let California implement stricter restrictions on vehicle emissions, which other states could then enact.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said this week that new gas mileage rules would pre-empt state emissions standards, leading to fears that EPA would refuse to give California the waiver it wants to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

Because California began regulating pollution before the federal government did, it has special authority under the Clean Air Act to set its own vehicle pollution standards if it gets a waiver from EPA.

Other states can adopt either the federal standards or California´s rules.

California air regulators approved rules in 2004 to cut exhaust from cars and light trucks by 25 percent and from larger trucks and sport utility vehicles by 18 percent starting in 2009.

Ten other states have also adopted those standards, which are opposed by

automakers, but the rules can´t be implemented until California gets a waiver. EPA has yet to grant one.