Press Releases

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-Calif.) today announced that they will oppose efforts by the Bush Administration to preempt the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and California from regulating tailpipe emissions.

Senators Feinstein and Boxer have long supported California’s request for a Clean Air Act waiver.

Following is the text of the letter sent by Senators Feinstein and Boxer to President Bush today:

December 6, 2007

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We were disappointed to receive the recent Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 6, in which your Administration threatens to veto a historic compromise to increase fuel economy standards ten miles per gallon over ten years. We disagree with your Administration’s conclusion that increasing fuel economy standards should be accompanied by a provision preempting Clean Air Act authority to address greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, one of the largest sources of such emissions in the United States. While fuel economy improvements often have the benefit of reducing air pollution, this legislation does not displace existing laws that are critical to the protection of public health from air pollution.

Such preemption would strip both EPA and California of the ability to protect the health and safety of our citizens from the threats posed by climate change.  As the Supreme Court correctly observed in Massachusetts v. EPA, the fact “that DOT sets mileage standards in no way licenses EPA to shirk its environmental responsibilities. EPA has been charged with protecting the public’s health and welfare, a statutory obligation wholly independent of DOT’s mandate to promote energy efficiency. The two obligations may overlap, but there is no reason to think the two agencies cannot both administer their obligations and yet avoid inconsistency.”  

While EPA has declined to use its authority under the Clean Air Act, California is leading our nation in the fight to slow global warming.  In 2002, California enacted the first state law (AB 1493) requiring greenhouse gas limits from motor vehicles, and in 2004 the California Air Resources Board issued regulations limiting such emissions. Twelve other states have adopted these regulations, and many more are in the process of doing so.  

California requested a waiver under the Clean Air Act from EPA to implement this law more than two years ago. California, now joined by over a dozen states, has filed suit to force a decision, and your Administration has pledged to act on this waiver request by the end of the year.

California's regulations are an example of why it is necessary to maintain this separation between the federal fuel economy program and the environmental and health protections of the Clean Air Act. We will vigorously oppose any effort to eliminate the Clean Air Act provisions that protect public health from vehicle air pollution.


Dianne Feinstein                    Barbara Boxer
United States Senator            United States Senator