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newsrel -- Clean Air Act is powerful tool to fight global warming

Posted: 23 Sep 2008 09:28:34
ARB Chairman addresses senate committee. 

Release 08-81
September 23, 2008
Stanley Young
916-322-2990 w
916-956-9409 m

ARB chairman tells U.S. Senate committee Clean Air Act is
powerful tool to fight global warming

Washington, D.C.-Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air
Resources Board, today told a Senate Committee in Washington
D.C. that Congressional action is urgently needed to set a firm
and ambitious cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

The ARB chairman addressed the Senate Committee on the
Environment and Public Works, chaired by Senator Boxer.

"California, and other states are already seeing the effects of
global warming," said Nichols. "We need action now. Addressing
climate change with tough federal legislation must be the first
item in the new President's inbox."

In April, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide
is a pollutant and ordered the EPA to examine the impacts of
global warming and how it could regulate greenhouse gases.
Instead, the EPA only described the harm, but declined to make a
definitive statement.

"We cannot wait another minute to begin to reverse the neglect
of the past eight years and start to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions," she said. "The Clean Air Act is a powerful tool that
is ready to be put to use starting on day one of the next

Nichols, who served as an Assistant Administrator for Air and
Radiation at the U.S. EPA for four years under President
Clinton, also pointed out that the Clean Air Act could be used
effectively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from some of the
largest sources in the country, including vehicles and power

As chairman of the California Air Resources Board, Nichols
oversees the implementation of California's pioneering climate
change legislation. The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006,
usually referred to as "AB 32," was signed into law by Governor
Schwarzenegger on September 27, 2006, just shy of two years

ARB staff are currently putting the finishing touches on the
final plan outlining the measures, programs and policies that
will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California by 30 percent
over the next 12 years. Many of these programs are based on
approaches outlined in the Clean Air Act.

While in Washington D.C., Nichols also met with representatives
of the American Lung Association to discuss the growing body of
evidence about the impacts of global warming on public health,
particularly respiratory and other diseases.

A report released by ARB last week indicated that implementing
California's global warming law will build on existing programs
to reduce smog-causing pollution and toxic soot and delivering
additional benefits to public health.

A report on the economic impacts of implementing AB 32, released
the same day, found that reducing greenhouse gases also produces
net economic benefits for the California economy in 2020. The
bulk of the economic benefits are the result of investments in
energy efficiency that more than pay for themselves over time.
(Both reports can be found at our webpage here.) This directly
refuted claims by a representative of the Chamber of Commerce
that using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas
emissions will be too costly.

Nichols also repeated her request for the EPA to grant the
waiver that would allow California to enforce its clean car law
and begin reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California
Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and
protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through
effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and
considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air
pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain
health based air quality standards.


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