Bush has signed an executive order directing the departments of Transportation, Agriculture and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency to craft regulations that will cut gasoline consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles and to have the rules in place by the end of 2008, according to the Washington Post.
Bush said the directive came in response to a Supreme Court ruling last month saying the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, from the transportation sector, CNNMoney reports.
Bush still opposses mandatory emissions caps, saying that anything other than a voluntary approach would unduly harm the nation’s economy. Instead of mandatory, the white house is using the term, innovation-based system.
Environmental groups said the administration’s plan lacks any clear commitment to act, MSNBC reports.
“They haven’t promised anything specific here A?AA¢AA¢aAA¬AA¢a?A¬? just trust us,” said David Doniger, an attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “There is nothing to rely on here.”
Environmental Defense said the effort “will fall far short of fixing the climate problem” without mandatory caps on carbon emissions.
The new rules could implement the president’s plan for reducing gas consumption by 20 percent over 10 years, as announced in Bush’s State of the Union. The plan envisions increasing the country’s use of alternative fuels to 35 billion gallons by 2017. It also would give the administration the ability to rewrite mileage rules for passenger cars, which now must meet a two-decades-old fleet average of 27.5 mpg, so that they are based on a vehicle’s size.