Florida Rule to Regulate Carbon Emissions from Cars
Tough auto emissions standards backed by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist cleared an important obstacle when a state commission approved rules fiercely opposed by the auto industry but praised by environmentalists.
[social_buttons]The Florida Environmental Regulation Commission voted 6-1 to adopt an emissions rule as a way of lowering the greenhouse gases. The Florida rule to regulate carbon emissions from cars is modeled after the California rule which is still being held up in regulatory limbo.
But now that the panel has approved the rule, it will face much stiffer opposition in the Florida legislature, a venue that has traditionally been much friendlier to the auto industry lobby.
“It will be tough,” said Mike Sole the secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and an ardent supporter of the rule, in Central Florida’s The Ledger. Sole admits that there certainly are no guarantees it will make it through the legislature.
State regulators say tailpipe pollution from vehicles accounts for about 40 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in Florida. If the new rule is implemented, it could reduce greenhouse gas pollution from new cars and trucks by 23 percent by 2012 and 30 percent by 2016 .
Environmental organizations are providing strong support for Florida’s new clean-car rule. But can they stand up to the auto industry? Eric Draper with Audubon of Florida said, “The automakers have been making cars that people don’t want to buy and then putting their money into persuading regulators to not make cars cleaner.” Instead what Draper and other environmentalists want is to see the automakers “take the money they are spending lobbying against Florida’s clean-car rule and put it into developing cleaner cars.”
A dozen other states besides California already have adopted tougher standards, including Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania and New York. Colorado and Arizona also have begun the adoption process.
Even if the rule does gain legislative approval, the Environmental Protection Agency is still refusing to grant a federal rule waiver that states need to put their greenhouse gas standards into effect.
Image: Greg.Chiasson via flickr under a Creative Commons License