The US Environmental Protection Agency has granted a waiver to California's vehicle emissions standards, according to a statement released by the California Clean Cars Campaign. The campaign coalition supports California's comprehensive Clean Cars Program, which is targeted at reducing vehicle-related smog, particle pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and includes a zero emission vehicle standard.

The EPA hasn't yet released an official statement on the decision – it's dealing with another announcement today that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will be resigning after President Obama's State of the Union Address next month – but the California Clean Cars Campaign press release (available below) calls it "a much-needed holiday present to consumers across the nation."

Today's waiver grants the state the right to implement its Clean Cars Program for model year 2017-2025 vehicles. It follows a 2009 decision by the Obama administration to grant California a waiver to implement clean vehicle standards through model year 2016, and joins more than 50 waivers granted to the state by the EPA in the past four decades. The EPA's decision could mean that up to 40 percent of new cars sold in the US will meet California's Clean Car Program standards, if fully implemented in the states that have signaled they want to adopt California's policies, according to the press release.

California Clean Cars Campaign membership is made up of public health leaders, consumer groups, businesses, local governments, elected officials, organized labor, faith groups and environmental organizations. "Although it is getting better, California has long faced unique and dangerous air quality challenges. Today's action from the EPA recognizes California's fundamental right to protect the health and welfare of its citizens," said Jane Warner, President and CEO, American Lung Association in California, one of the co-chairs of the California Clean Cars Campaign, in the statement.

The California Air Resources Board is likely thrilled to see this statement of support from the campaign. The agency has played a leading role in bringing the zero emission vehicle mandate to the state. With the EPA's waiver, the question of whether the so-called "compliance cars" rule will work enters a new chapter.
U.S. EPA Green-Lights CA's Historic Vehicle Emissions Standards

Top business, consumer, health, community leaders call action a victory for clean air, economy and the public

SACRAMENTO, CA – Calling it a victory for California's air quality, economy and consumers, the California Clean Cars Campaign today thanks the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for green-lighting the state's historic vehicle emissions standards. The EPA granted the state a waiver, which allows California to implement strong vehicle-related smog and particle pollution controls, greenhouse gas emission (GHG) standards, and a zero emission vehicle standard.

"Although it is getting better, California has long faced unique and dangerous air quality challenges. Today's action from the EPA recognizes California's fundamental right to protect the health and welfare of its citizens," said Jane Warner, President and CEO, American Lung Association in California, one of the co-chairs of the California Clean Cars Campaign. The Campaign is comprised of top business, consumer, health, labor, environmental and community leaders and organizations from across the state, all of whom support strong clean car standards.

"I am proud to have played a role in supporting California's efforts to move the country toward this remarkable achievement on clean cars. We stand ready to support the kind of market growth and development that this rule envisions," said Campaign co-chair Wendy Greuel, Los Angeles City Controller. "I will work to make Los Angeles the zero emission vehicle capital of the world."

Today's waiver from the EPA also allows other states to adopt California's program. When fully implemented in the states that have signaled they want to adopt California's policies, about 40 percent of cars sold in the United States will meet the California Clean Cars Program's strong standards.

"The EPA has delivered a much-needed holiday present to consumers across the nation," said Campaign co-chair Ken McEldowney, Executive Director of Consumer Action. "Time and again, consumers have expressed support for stronger vehicle pollution controls. This is especially good news for the poorest among us who disproportionally suffer from the health effects of pollution."

As the nation's largest auto market, California is uniquely positioned to spark new automotive innovation.

"Historically we know that smart vehicle policy that sets a high but achievable bar encourages automakers, component makers and hybrid and battery innovators to invest in developing new and better technologies," said Campaign co-chair Bruce Klafter, Managing Director-Worldwide Operations and Head-Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability at Applied Materials. "Automakers are already announcing proactive plans to up their production of hybrids, battery electric cars and fuel cell vehicles."

The EPA has granted more than 50 California waivers in the last four decades. In 2009, the Obama administration granted California a waiver to implement clean vehicle standards through model year 2016. Today's waiver grants California the right to implement its new California Clean Cars Program for model years 2017-2025.

For a list of the Clean Cars Campaign Advisory Committee visit
http://www.calcleancars.org/docs/Co-Chairs_AdvComm.pdf.

For a complete list of supporters of the California Clean Cars Campaign visit
http://www.calcleancars.org/docs/CCC_Supporters.pdf.

About the California Clean Cars Campaign

The California Clean Cars Campaign is comprised of public health leaders, consumer groups, businesses, local governments, elected officials, organized labor, faith groups, environmental organizations, and other diverse constituencies that support the strongest possible standards for California's groundbreaking Clean Cars Program. Bringing the next generation of advanced, clean cars into the driveways of California families will help to reduce our dependence on oil, save consumers money, reduce air pollution, and support new jobs and investment in the state's clean energy economy. Visit us at: www.calcleancars.org.