This editorial appeared in The Miami Herald.
U.S. automakers have used all of their legal and lobbying muscle to fight efforts – including by California, the nation's biggest state – to reduce vehicles' greenhouse-gas emissions. Until Jan. 20, they seemed to be winning. Now, the tide is turning – and that's good for U.S. automakers and the country, too.
The difference is because of the change in the White House. Under the Bush administration, the Environmental Protection Agency refused to grant California a Clean Air Act waiver requiring higher standards for tailpipe emissions. This, despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision acknowledging the agency's authority to regulate greenhouse gases.
The Big Three automakers have spent millions in legal fees fighting emission standards in courts in California and Vermont as if oblivious to the dire financial straits that led to the $17.4 billion bailout of General Motors and Chrysler.
The automakers should have realized that change was coming when Congress agreed to loan them billions of dollars. Congress, in no uncertain terms, told the Detroit CEOs that it was time to make smaller, more fuel-efficient cars – and the CEOs agreed.
Yet now they are caviling about President Barack Obama's announcement this week that California's tough greenhouse-gas emission standards and higher fuel standards are the way to go and that he expects the EPA to approve the waiver soon.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald.