Obama to Let States Have Their Way With Automakers

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Warner plots his future resurrection. Photo: iStockphoto.com

At a press conference this morning, President Obama will continue with his quick, merciless undoing of all of President Bush's hard work. Obama announced he'll direct the EPA to reconsider its controversial 2007 ruling that California couldn't set stricter automobile-emission and fuel-efficiency standards than the federal government at large. Thirteen other states, including New York, had joined California in the suit, and a likely EPA reversal could affect half of the country's car market. But while everyone would love to buy less gas and breathe cleaner air (one would hope?), some think this would be tantamount to kicking Detroit while it's down.

• Stephen Power and Laura Meckler write that the "announcement is almost certain to spark a war between two key Democratic constituencies: environmentalists and state officials who want power to set greenhouse-gas rules, and auto makers and unions who say such rules would exacerbate the industry's woes." [WSJ]

• Jennifer Rubin claims this "will increase the demand for still more bailouts, because the auto companies can’t make cars profitably under the existing CAFE standards." [Contentions/Commentary]

• Glenn Reynolds cracks, "Just what Detroit needs!" [Instapundit]

• Bradford Plumer says that California argues "that the auto industry is always forecasting Armageddon whenever the state ratchets up its air-quality standards." But "maybe, just maybe, this time around, in the current economic climate, with the Big Three hooked up to a congressional IV, those fears are actually justified. Anything's possible." [Vine/New Republic]

• Greg Sargent is struck by how quickly Obama placed "his own stamp on 'green' policy and how aggressive a response it is to GOP efforts to slow the new President's environmental agenda." This is "a clean break with his GOP predecessor," and a sign that "Obama is taking the idea that he has a mandate to think big pretty seriously." [Plum Line/Who Runs Gov]

• Tim Dickinson believes "Obama merely has to stand back and let the existing regulatory frameworks relieve the built up pressure" of Bush-blocked "scientifically driven regulation," an approach which shouldn't even "require much political capital." [National Affairs/Rolling Stone]

• Hilzoy is "glad Obama has not actually ordered the EPA to approve California's application. The scientists at the EPA ought to be making that decision, not the President." Of course, "the EPA staff has already concluded that California's application ought to go forward." [Political Animal/Washington Monthly]

• Chuck Todd and friends feel "as if President Obama is using his first week in office to make sure many key constituency groups are happy," and with today's announcement about emission standards, he "checks a box on the environment." [First Read/MSNBC]

• Matt Yglesias is reminded "of how important it is just not to have an administration that tries as hard as it can to make things as bad as possible." [Think Progress]