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Know the West

West Coast states tackle global warming

  While the Bush administration takes a light-handed approach to curbing global warming, West Coast governors are determined to give the cause some regulatory punch. In September, outgoing California Gov. Gray Davis, in collaboration with Gov. Gary Locke, D-Wash., and Gov. Ted Kulongoski, D-Ore., announced a new, region-wide approach to slowing greenhouse gas emissions.

The governors plan to use the states’ combined purchasing power to buy fuel-efficient vehicles and tires for state agencies; lower diesel fuel emissions from ships and trucks; encourage the use of renewable energy sources; create a system to monitor greenhouse gas emissions; and set standards for more energy-efficient appliances.

The announcement comes in the wake of lawsuits filed by nine East Coast attorneys general against the Environmental Protection Agency for weakening the Clean Air Act. Oregon and Washington are expected to join eight other states in another lawsuit that would force the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases, which the Bush administration says the agency does not have the authority to do.

The West Coast governors say they will present their joint policy recommendations by Sept. 1, 2004. “This issue is too important for inaction to take place. Global warming is not some fad,” says Davis spokesperson Byron Tucker. But it remains to be seen whether California’s new governor-elect, Arnold Schwarzenegger, will support the agreement. According to The New York Times, Schwarzenegger has set the more modest goal of modifying one of his Hummers to run on hydrogen.