Obama to Back Strict New Fuel Standards Today

Prez plans to grant California rules stalled by Bush
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser User
Posted Jan 26, 2009 4:41 AM CST
Traffic is stopped on the northbound lanes of Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica, Calif., last summer. California's efforts to battle smog were held up by former president Bush.   (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)
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(Newser) – In a dramatic reversal of his predecessor's policies, President Obama will ask federal regulators to approve an application from California and 13 other states to impose fuel efficiency standards stricter than those required by federal law, reports the New York Times. The measure will force the auto industry to adapt quickly to the revised standards, producing vehicles with higher mileage on a tighter schedule.

He is also expected to order officials to finalize nationwide compliance with 2007 regulatory standards rejected by the former president. Obama's announcement today will focus on the request from California, which has long been an environmental trend-setter. "We’re delighted that the president is acting so quickly to reverse one of the worst decisions by the Bush administration and to get the EPA back on track," said a California activist.