California Greenhouse Gas Waiver Request
On July 8, 2009, EPA granted a waiver of Clean Air Act preemption to California for its greenhouse gas emission standards for motor vehicles beginning with the 2009 model year.
The California Air Resources Board originally requested this waiver in December 2005. That request was denied by EPA on March 6, 2008. Early this year, the California Air Resources Board requested that EPA reconsider its waiver denial. Then, on January 26, 2009, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum, directing EPA to assess whether denial of the waiver based on California's application was appropriate in light of the Clean Air Act.
- Notice of Decision Granting a Waiver of Clean Air Act Preemption for California’s 2009 and Subsequent Model Year Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards for New Motor Vehicles (PDF)(42 pp, 280K, July 2009)
- California State Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Standards - Request for Waiver of Preemption Under Clean Air Act Section 209(b) for Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Presidential Memorandum -- EPA Waiver (January 26, 2009)
The Clean Air Act gives California special authority to enact stricter air pollution standards for motor vehicles than the federal government’s. EPA must approve a waiver, however, before California’s rules may go into effect. Once California files a waiver request, EPA publishes a notice for public hearing and written comment in the Federal Register. The written comment period typically remains open for a period of time after the public hearing. Once the comment period expires, EPA reviews the comments and the administrator determines whether California has satisfied the law’s requirements for obtaining a waiver.
According to the Clean Air Act Section 209 – State Standards, EPA shall grant a waiver unless it finds that California:
- was arbitrary and capricious in its finding that its standards are in the aggregate at least as protective of public health and welfare as applicable federal standards;
- does not need such standards to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions; or
- has proposed standards not consistent with Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act.
You can read all the documents associated with this waiver request at www.regulations.gov (Or go to the main page for the regulations docket, select Advanced Search, then Docket Search, and type EPA-HQ-OAR-2006-0173 as the Docket ID). Below we have provided direct links to some of the relevant documents.
For extensive information about federal environmental laws, EPA regulations, significant guidance documents, and dockets — including how to search for rules and comment on them — see the Laws, Regulations, Guidance, and Dockets site.