Obama to Push Process for EPA to Grant States Waiver to Implement Stricter Clean Air Laws

Jake Tapper  | ABC News

ABC News has learned that on Monday President Obama will announce that he’s putting into place a process that will almost certainly ultimately allow California and 13 other states the right to set their own, stricter automobile emissions and fuel efficiency standards.

In 2007, the Bush administration’s EPA administrator, Steven Johnson, denied the 14 states — the other 13 are Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and New Jersey — a waiver to set their own clean air standards, overruling EPA staff scientists.

Monday President Obama will issue a presidential memorandum requesting the EPA –and its new administrator, Lisa Jackson, who was confirmed by the Senate on Friday — to reconsider the Bush EPA’s 2007 denial of the waiver to the states. President Obama will officially request that the EPA undertake the legal process for reconsidering the waiver, which will include an opportunity for interested parties to comment. The final EPA decision could take several months.

The president will also deliver brief remarks in the morning that deal with the creation of green jobs in his stimulus package:

  • modernizing 75 percent of federal buildings and 2 million homes;
  • doubling enough renewable energy generating capacity to power 6 million American homes;
  • modernizing the nation’s electricity grid will result in more than 3,000 miles of new or modernized transmission lines and 40 million “Smart Meters” in American homes; and
  • launching the Clean Energy Finance Initiative to leverage $100 billion in private sector clean energy investments over three years.
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