This editorial appeared in The Olympian.
It didn't take President Barack Obama long to reverse a controversial decision by the administration of President George W. Bush on automobile emissions. The president's action is terrific news for Washington residents who want to make this state a national leader on greenhouse gas emissions.
In his first week as president, Obama fulfilled a campaign pledge when he asked the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider a Bush policy that forbids states from setting their own emission standards.
"The federal government must work with, not against, the states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Obama said.
The president is absolutely right.
Lobbied by the automobile industry, Congress has failed to set tough national standards. In that leadership void, states, led by California, bypassed the federal government and adopted their own standards. It was the responsible thing to do.
The EPA muddied the water by denying California's request for a waiver to implement its greenhouse standards – the toughest in the nation. The Washington Legislature had adopted the same standards in 2005 and, joined by Oregon, created a united West Coast committed to reducing emissions.
In a 48-page EPA document describing the reasoning behind its decision, the federal environmental watchdog agency essentially said global warming isn't unique to California. The EPA argued that California doesn't have the "compelling and extraordinary conditions" required for a waiver under the Clean Air Act, because the rest of the nation also suffers the effects of global warming.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Olympian.