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Remember those new fuel economy standards proposed by the Bush Administration that I blogged about a few days ago? Turns out there’s a much more nefarious regulation buried within them–they would also bar states from implementing their own emissions and mileage standards. That appears aimed directly at states like California, Maine, and several others that have adopted stringent anti-pollution vehicle guidelines (pioneered in California).

Language in the administration’s proposed standards would outlaw such state initiatives. Page 150 of the administration’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards proposal reads: “We reaffirm our view that a state may not impose a legal requirement relating to fuel economy, whether by statute, regulation or otherwise, that conflicts with this rule. A state that seeks to reduce motor vehicle carbon dioxide emissions is…pre-empted.”

Steve Hinchman, a lawyer with the Conservation Law Foundation in Portland, assailed the Bush proposal as “remarkably feeble,” and took issue with the provision that would erode states’ rights to set vehicle standards.

“This is actually a clumsy backdoor effort to shut down the most (environmentally) protective efforts in the country,” Hinchman said by telephone Thursday.

Sneaky, sneaky. These new regulations ought to be opposed for this reason alone. (The fact that they won’t do much of anything to save fuel is the least of its problems.)

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