Last week, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, sent a letter to Obama asking him to give California and other states permission to implement the tough tailpipe-emission standards. Schwarzenegger said Obama “has a unique opportunity to both support the pioneering leadership of these states and move America toward global leadership on addressing climate change.”
Obama will direct EPA regulators to re-examine California’s case. The formal process will take time but is expected to end up in the states’ favor. The Bush administration had rejected the request on grounds that a national fuel-efficiency strategy would work better — the same position the auto industry took.
“Reports of President Obama’s decision to revisit the outrageous denial of the California waiver by the Bush Administration are more than welcome news,” Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said in a written statement released Sunday night. “When the waiver is signed, it will be a signal to Detroit that a huge market awaits them if they do the right thing and produce the cleanest, most efficient vehicles possible.”