State Capitol News
9:31 am
Tue November 15, 2011

Brewer moves to scrap regulations requiring residents to purchase lower-polluting vehicles

Governor Brewer is moving to scrap regulations to require residents to purchase lower-polluting vehicles. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains.

Rules adopted during the Napolitano administration said that, beginning next year, new cars and trucks sold in Arizona must have reduced greenhouse gas emissions. When Jan Brewer became governor in 2009, she ordered a review, saying there is probably some link between human activities and climate change, but probably not as much as some contend. Now Brewer's Department of Environmental Quality has concluded the rules should be repealed. But gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson said that has nothing to do with whether global warming is real.

"That is not at the heart of the decision the governor has made here," Benson said. "The decision that she's made is that the economic costs of being part of the Clean Cars Program outweigh the environmental benefits."

Benson also said federal greenhouse gas regulations have been tightened and there is no reason for Arizona to have a different standard. But Sierra Club lobbyist Sandy Bahr said the state rules go beyond limiting those emissions.

"DEQ went through and identified a lot of other criteria emissions, pollutants that would be reduced through the program including ozone precursors," Behr said.

An economist hired by vehicle manufacturers said Arizona's rules would add at least $6,000 to the cost of cars and light trucks. But state DEQ officials said during 2008 hearings the cost was only about $1,100 -- and would be more than offset by greater fuel efficiency.