Obama to let states set higher emissions standards: report

WASHINGTON, January 26, 2009 (AFP) – President Barack Obama on Monday is expected to issue new regulations allowing several US states to set tougher car emissions and fuel efficiency standards, the New York Times reported, citing administration officials. He also will direct the Department of Transportation to immediately begin drafting automobile fuel-economy regulations to comply with a law enacted in December 2007.

Former president Bush delayed implementing the law and left office saying there was not sufficient time to write the rules, the daily said.

The dramatic federal action granting California and 13 other states the right to regulate tailpipe emissions is a sharp departure from former George W. Bush’s environmental policy, and has been sharply opposed by auto companies, The Times reported on its website late Sunday.

Obama is to issue a directive to the US Environmental Protection Agency to immediately begin work on granting the so-called California waiver, which allows the state — long in the vanguard on environmental matters — to set its own standards for automobile emissions.

In his White House announcement early Monday, Obama also is expected to issue a directive requiring federal agencies to immediately begin work on maki