Politicos cheer Obama’s EPA waiver memo

California politicos’ joyful statements are piling up today, now that President Barack Obama has ordered a re-examination of whether California and other states should be allowed to have tougher auto tailpipe emission standards than those set by the federal government.

From Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland:

“For eight years the Bush Administration stood in the way of progress on energy independence. Today, President Obama made a bold move in our fight to end our dependence on foreign oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ordering the review of the Bush Administration’s decision to unjustifiably block California’s efforts to combat global warming and promote the use of cleaner, more efficient vehicles on their roads.

“As a longtime supporter of California’s bold agenda to reduce greenhouse gas emissions I am pleased by today’s announcement, which sends a clear signal from the Obama Administration regarding their commitment to work in concert with pioneering efforts at the municipal and state level in the fight against climate change.

“We have long recognized the real danger that global warming poses to all of us. Today’s move by the Obama Administration demonstrated that we will no longer put corporate interests before the health and well-being of the people of this country. I am hopeful that an accurate review of this decision by the EPA will provide a growing number of states the much-needed authority to implement stricter emissions standards that are needed to set our country on the path to a greener and more energy secure future.”

More, after the jump…

From House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:

“This morning, President Obama signaled that our country can no longer afford to wait to combat the climate crisis and our dangerous dependence on foreign oil. He is setting our country on a path led by science and innovation, in a dramatic departure from the past eight years.

“Granting the request of California and other states to move forward with reducing greenhouse gases emissions from vehicles will steer American automakers to retool their fleets. Only through innovation will automakers be able to create the greener cars of the future and regain their global competitiveness.

“President Obama has also sent a clear message on CAFE standards. Restarting the implementation of new fuel efficiency standards will allow the Obama Administration to bring fresh thinking to the process and ensure the standards achieve the goals set by Congress in the landmark 2007 energy bill.

“The New Direction Congress will work with President Obama to embrace a clean, renewable, and energy independent future for America. We look forward to building on the historic Energy Independence and Security Act with an economic recovery package that works to double renewable energy generation, invests in green infrastructure, and creates the clean energy jobs that will provide a stronger economy for the future.”

From U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer:

“Reports of President Obama’s decision to revisit the outrageous denial of the California waiver by the Bush Administration are more than welcome news. An immediate EPA review of the waiver decision shows respect for California and the 18 other states — representing more than half the U.S. population — who are waiting for the green light to address global warming pollution from motor vehicles. As Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I will be working with the new EPA Administrator to ensure that the California waiver moves forward as fast as possible. 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.”

From Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger:

“With this announcement from President Obama less than a week into his administration, it is clear that California and the environment now have a strong ally in the White House. Allowing California and other states to aggressively reduce their own harmful vehicle tailpipe emissions would be a historic win for clean air and for millions of Americans who want more fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly cars. My administration has been fighting for this waiver since 2005 and we will not give up until it is granted because we owe it to our children and to our grandchildren to do more than just protect our natural resources, we must also work to improve them so that we leave behind an environment for future generations that is better than it is today.”

From Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles:

“By allowing the EPA to reconsider states’ ability to set tougher tailpipe emission standards, the Obama Administration is making a big step in the right direction when it comes to air quality, fuel efficiency and combating global warming. The Bush Administration decision denying California a waiver on this issue was wrong in its policy and wrong in its process and this move by President Obama is a breath of fresh air on both counts.”

“Once the EPA grants this waiver, as it should, California can move forward with our efforts to encourage environmental entrepreneurship and develop new technologies that will help stimulate the economy with badly-needed good-paying green jobs. Add that to the clean, breathable air every Californian wants and needs and this has the potential to be a win-win situation all the way around.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.