[Homestead] Environment in densely-populated California

Tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Sat Sep 25 14:26:20 EDT 2004

Fifty years ago I could not drive from Los Angeles Airport ninety miles 
to the Needles on my way back to Wiosconsin without stopping by the side 
of the road every four or five minutes to wipe my streaming eyes---a 
heal of a way to live, and I don't want to listen to automobile 
manufacturer babble about it being too-expensive to rectify---as if 
manufacturing polluter-automobiles is more important than breathing.

*x* - close 
*Recent Stories By TIM MOLLOY Associated Press Writer*

    Calif. regulators approve world's toughest smog rules

        By TIM MOLLOY, Associated Press Writer
        /Last Updated 2:25 pm PDT Friday, September 24, 2004/

LOS ANGELES (AP) - California air regulators on Friday unanimously 
approved the world's most ambitious rules to reduce the car emissions 
that contribute to global warming, a move that could bring sweeping 
changes to how the rest of the nation fights vehicle pollution.

The regulations are expected to cut exhaust emissions in cars and light 
trucks by 25 percent and in larger trucks and SUVs by 18 percent.

Their approval by the California Air Resources Board came after nearly 
two full days of debate and discussion, during which the auto industry 
vigorously stated its opposition.

Industry officials argued that the board did not have the authority to 
adopt such sweeping regulations, that they couldn't be met by current 
technology, and that they unfairly targeted California, which produces 
less than 1 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.

Heat-trapping greenhouse gases are believed by many scientists to 
contribute to global warming.

The proposals would require automakers to reduce emissions by using such 
technological innovations as better air conditioners, more efficient 
transmissions and smaller engines.

Among those supporting the regulations was Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's 
environmental protection secretary, Terry Tamminen, who said Friday he 
and Schwarzenegger believe California should do its part to reduce 
pollution. He strongly urged the board to adopt the proposals.

"We can make it clear that yes, we understand that our contribution, no 
matter how large or small, makes a difference," Tamminen said. "Every 
single action that we take -- or inaction -- makes a difference."

Gloria J. Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the industry trade group Alliance 
of Automobile Manufacturers, said the regulations would only reduce 
worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases by "one-tenth of 1 percent."

"We see that as no apparent health benefit at a great cost to California 
consumers," she said.

Bergquist said manufacturers are already working to produce cleaner 
vehicles, but that introducing the technology required under the 
regulations would be "almost as complicated as developing the first 

Asked after the vote if her group planned to sue to block the 
regulations, she said that was an option but no decision had been made yet.

The board's staff said the cost increases would top out at about $1,000 
per vehicle by 2016. Staff members studied the automakers' estimates 
Thursday night, and said in a report issued Friday that the automakers' 
$3,000 figure was an exaggeration.

Air Resources Board Chairman Alan C. Lloyd and other board members said 
they were disappointed that automakers did not accept invitations to 
work with them on the regulations.

"The response, the silence, was deafening," Lloyd said. "We should be 
able to work together. I hope that we still can work together on this 
tremendously important issue. The stakes could not be higher."

Board member Mark DeSaulnier, a Contra Costa County supervisor, said he 
had slept fitfully the night before the vote because he felt 
"disappointment, frustration, and sometimes anger at the auto industry."

He objected to industry arguments that Washington, D.C., and not 
California, should lead efforts to fight greenhouse emissions -- and 
argued that automakers should have taken the lead themselves.

"If I had my druthers, it would be settled in Detroit," he said.

The proposals stem from a law signed by former Gov. Gray Davis in 2002 
that required the board to set emission standards for greenhouse gases. 
The bill's author, Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, said 
Friday's vote marked the first time in the world regulations have been 
placed on vehicles for the specific purpose of reducing greenhouse gas 

She said the fact the action had the support of Davis, a Democrat, and 
Schwarzenegger, the Republican who replaced him, "speaks to the unified 
effort among all Californians" to reduce greenhouse gases.

Board members said there is no dispute that greenhouse gases contribute 
to global warming that can harm California's economy in fields ranging 
from agriculture to tourism.

They said the emissions can also lead to serious respiratory problems, 
especially among children, by exacerbating the effects of smog. Los 
Angeles has the worst smog problem in the nation.

Board member Henry Gong, a physician, noted that many medical experts 
pushed for the regulations and none testified against them.


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