Today the Environmental Protection Agency is holding a public hearing (almost a novelty after 8 years of utter disregard for the public's opinion) here in D.C. to review the Bush administration's unlawful denial of the Clean Air Act waiver that California needs to move forward with its landmark global warming emissions standards for cars, trucks, and SUVs. The standards, which have also been adopted by 14 additional states, aim to cut global warming emissions from vehicles some 30 percent by 2016.
Between court loss after court loss (including the Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA) and President Obama's clear desire to allow California to move forward, the auto industry seems somewhat resigned to the waiver being granted and the standards moving forward. Nevertheless, they continue to argue that the standards are unachievable and will bankrupt the industry.
(In reality, the standards will only revitalize the domestic auto industry, make it more competitive, and help ensure that the advanced vehicles of tomorrow--the ones that will make us more energy independent and fight global warming--are made right here in the U.S.A.)
As part of Sierra Club's official testimony at today's hearing, we also prepared a virtual clean car show to demonstrate that automakers--both foreign and domestic--already have the technology to meet the California standards today and in the years to come. Indeed, some of the biggest trucks made by Ford and General Motors already meet the standards for this year. You can see the whole show here, but take a look at a few of the examples:
Chevy Silverado pickup:
Ford Escape Hybrid:
And speaking of today's hearing, we wanted to do something different and unique to show EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson that we are grateful that the administration is willing to listen to a public engaged on these issues like never before. We've already had tens of thousands of Sierra Club activists submit comments to EPA on the California waiver over the years, so we decided instead to do a photo petition to bring the voices of those who couldn't attend in person to today's hearing.
Using the theme of "EPA Holds the Key to Clean Cars," we asked folks to snap pics of themselves holding their [car, bike, house] keys. Pics from Sierra Club members, Powershift attendees, Huffington Post readers, and others streamed in and we worked them into two photomosaics, which we will project during our testimony at today's hearing. Take a look at what we came up with: