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Automakers Send Proxy to Tailpipe Emissions Hearing

tailpipe2Automakers declined to attend an Environmental Protection Agency hearing March 5 on whether to allow California and 13 other states to set their own standards on automotive tailpipe emissions.

In perhaps a sign of acquiescence, automakers, who are receiving billions in government bailout aid, did not appear in person at the Washington hearing to rebut the arguments of those favoring strict rules, according to a Los Angeles Times article.

While the automakers themselves stayed away, two automotive trade groups, however, were expected to present arguments focused on being “a part of solutions that work,” General Motors spokesman Greg Martin told the LA Times. A car dealers association was expected to have more biting comments, the article noted.

Michigan Sen. Carl Levin testified, suggesting the EPA deny California’s attempt to limit global warming emissions from cars and trucks. He said, instead, the country needs a nationwide rule.

President Barack Obama ordered the EPA to revisit the Bush administration’s decision to block a waiver that would have allowed California’s rules to take effect. Additionally, the waiver would let other states adopt California’s rules, which so far 13 other states and the District of Columbia have agreed to, with four more moving toward them.

During his candidacy, Obama vowed to let California’s rules go into effect. Since then, he has called for a national standard to regulate greenhouse gases. The administration’s new rules reportedly would supplant California’s law if the EPA lets it proceed.

Meanwhile, international agencies unmasked the the 50 by 50 Global Fuel Economy Initiative at the Geneva Motor Show March 4. A joint project of the United Nations Environment Program, the International Energy Agency, International Transport Forum and FIA Foundation, the initiative seeks to slash vehicle emissions 50 percent by 2050.

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