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Brown Says Bush 'Dangerously Misguided' On Gas Mileage Rules

Monday, May 14, 2007
Contact: (415) 703-5837

SAN FRANCISCO -- (May 14, 2007) California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today criticized the Bush administration for illegally adopting “dangerously misguided” gas mileage rules.

Brown, in a lawsuit backed by 11 states and several environmental organizations, said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new mileage standards violate federal law by ignoring both the environment and our country’s growing dependence on foreign oil.

“After years of neglect, it is unconscionable to increase vehicle mileage standards by only one mile per gallon,” Brown said outside the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where the case was argued Monday. “We are asking the court to reject this dangerously misguided policy that exacerbates global warming and enriches foreign sponsors of terrorism.”

Despite the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, adopted four decades ago in response to the Arab oil crisis, the Bush administration last year ordered a paltry mileage increase, from 22.2 miles per gallon to 23.5 by 2010. The National Environmental Policy Act and other regulations also require the Bush administration, when formulating new mileage standards, to consider the effects of the vehicles’ greenhouse gas emissions on global warming, which the Bush administration failed to do, Brown said.

Instead, the Bush administration adopted a standard oblivious to how manmade pollution is harming the environment and changing the climate. Bush’s policy continues to feed the coffers of foreign oil-producing governments, many of them sponsors of terrorism, while the price of gas is reaching historic highs. Had the administration followed federal environmental and conservation regulations, the government would have demanded greater fuel efficiency, Brown said.

A decision by the three-judge appeals court panel is expected anytime.

Suing along with Brown are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York, the District of Columbia, New York City, the Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense and the Sierra Club.

While Bush ignores global warming, the U.S. Supreme Court has not.

On April 2, the Supreme Court demanded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to consider adopting regulations to combat climate change. In that case, the high court wrote “the harms associated with climate change are serious and well recognized.” The Supreme Court noted environmental changes “have already inflicted significant harms” from retreating glaciers, to early spring snow melts to an “accelerated rate of rise of sea levels during the 20th century relative to the past few thousand years.”

Last week, Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said “Climate change will touch every corner and every community on this planet.” He said “It is now up to governments” to address the issue before it’s too late.

Brown agrees: “Why does President Bush want to keep us addicted to oil, foreign oil?”

The case is California v. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 06-72317.

Court records in the case are attached to this release.

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