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Illinois Thu Mar 12 2009

Illinois to Pass Clean Car Act in '09?

This morning, the Environmental Health Committee of the Illinois House will hold a hearing on HB0422, the Illinois Clean Car Act. This bill, cross-introduced in the Senate as SB 1941, on which hearings are occurring in the Energy Committee this morning, essentially gives Illinois the same automobile mileage/emissions standards as California, phasing in from 2012 to 2020.

Environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and others have made this a priority for this year, on the theory that if enough large car-buying states adopt these higher standards, manufacturers will make all their cars cleaner, not just the products destined for California.

While a similar bill came up short last year, advocates have higher hopes this time around, with public awareness of the importance of lowering greeenhouse gas emissions growing. Significantly, on Feb. 19, House Speaker Michael Madigan switched his status on the bill from "co-sponsor" to "chief co-sponsor." All things being equal, this would indicate that the bill is a priority and has strong leadership backing.

In the Illinois state senate, there are only four sponsors: Jacqueline Y. Collins, Iris Y. Martinez, Michael Noland, and Kwame Raoul. The Illinois Climate Action Network working for this bill is urging constituents to contact their state senators and ask them to co-sponsor SB 1941.

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Good Luck / March 12, 2009 3:23 PM

Law of unintended consequences:

Section 30. New motor vehicle certification testing.
21 (a) Prior to being offered for sale or lease in this State,
22 new motor vehicles subject to the Illinois Clean Vehicles
23 Program requirements must be certified by CARB as meeting the
24 motor vehicle requirements of Title 13 CCR, Division 3, Chapter
25 1, Section 1961 we find that our nation's automobile industry is on the verge of collapse, the industry is deemed "too big to fail", and a commonly believed factor in their unsustainability is that companies like GM have created too many models and need to streamline their operations.

Here we have regulation that would mandate that cars sold in IL be different than any other state, thus requiring that Ford or GM create specialized engines/systems for the IL market. This would increase the differentiation and eliminate any operational gains from reducing the number of models they sell.

Because they have to cater to specialized needs, the price of a car under IL specifications would cost more to produce and that cost would be passed on to the consumer. The loophole for the consumer would be to travel to a neighboring state and buy a car there. That would not benefit any IL dealer located near a state border, now would it? And if the IL dealer is selling fewer cars, the state gets less sales tax revenue and the dealer may not be able to offer the same number of jobs to its community.

It would be nice if the Sierra Club was an advocate for economic sustainability as well as environmental sustainability, would it not?

Oh yeah, CA used their clean air act as an excuse to slap on an extra tax on each car in the state. So by all means give politicians more excuse to tax us.

Major Delay / March 12, 2009 7:56 PM

Since when is anything related to the automobile economically sustainable? I guess the Sierra Club could advocate to get rid of all governmental car subsidies in the name of sound economics.

When we (and the President) are ready to "walk away from the automobile" then we'll get somewhere regarding fairness, equity and sustainability of transportation.

Jack / March 12, 2009 10:04 PM

Good Luck -

These cars won't be unique to Illinois. These cars are already required 16 other states - and drivers there will drive versions of the same ones we do, only they use 30% less gas.

States are forbidden (by federal law) by making up their own standards. They have to choose between the clean and dirty standards. Isn't it time Illinois went clean?

Whether you need an SUV, a pickup, or a hybrid, why wouldn't you want the version that puts out less pollution and uses less gas?

Good Luck / March 13, 2009 10:10 AM

MD - fairness, equity and sustainability of transportation. What does that even mean? It sounds like a nice slogan, but totally impractical in the real world.

Jack, what this type of legislation does is create the environment for states to make up their own standards. In fact one of Obama's first moves was to tell the EPA to allow CA to enact its own standards. Other states would then have a green light to enact their own standards.

No one is against less pollution and conservation of resources. The whole "you are with us or against us" argument harkens to a different mindset, doesnt' it? My point is that good natured legislation often has unintended consequences that do more harm than good, with this being an example.

If environmentalists realized that humans are an essential part of the environment rather than a blight on the environment, they would be better suited in finding real solutions. - This a view shared by one of the founders of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore.

Michael / March 13, 2009 11:04 AM

Good Luck- You are correct, good natured legislation often does have unintended consequences. But in instances such as this, we can't let the fear of unitended consequences blind us from the societal benefits that a bill like this would bring. Really, this bill IS about the people, not just the environment. This bill would save us money at the pump (better gas mileage), protect people's health, and contribute to fighting global warming. Sure, the car companies will say that this will cripple them, but they are already making these cars, have already designed them, and don't most of us agree that the Big 3 have dragged their feet on this issue for too long? I say give us the fuel efficient cars that they get in other states, the car companies will will be forced to make more cars that people want (this is bad?), and Illinois citizens will benefit. I don't know how this couldn't be more about the people.

Mark / March 13, 2009 5:14 PM

"Good Luck" and MD should check their facts.

The following statements are incorrect:
(By "Good Luck") "Here we have regulation that would mandate that cars sold in IL be different than any other state . . ."
(By "MD") "[W]hat this type of legislation does is create the environment for states to make up their own standards. In fact one of Obama's first moves was to tell the EPA to allow CA to enact its own standards. Other states would then have a green light to enact their own standards."

The truth: Cars that satisfy Illinois requirements will be the same as the cars that satisfy the requirements of California and at least 13 other states representing about 42% of the U.S. automobile market that have adopted the same anti-pollution standards. Since automakers are already satisfying the requirements for those states, they don't have to make any design changes for Illinois. They can simply sell the same cars here as in those other states.

Unfortunately, "Good Luck" and "MD" seem to be deceived by and are repeating a flat out lie that's been going around, only they're using different words. The lie (and you may have heard this) is the claim that the California standard will cause a "patchwork quilt" of requirements. The truth is (see preceding paragraph), you can't make a patchwork quilt if you only have two pieces of cloth to start with.

This is a good law for Illinois and a good law for America. I hope everyone will support it.

Good Luck / March 13, 2009 8:57 PM


You seem to have difficulty understanding the language involved and the nuances thereafter.

The proposed IL law specifically pegs IL standard to the existing CA standard, not to whatever CA standard exists at any given time.

CA has pushed for the authority to become autonomous in setting its standard. Obama has supported this measure, and its very likely to become law.

This means that there will soon be three "pieces of cloth" for car companies and auto suppliers to deal with: CA v1, CA v2, and US standards.

If the precedent is set that CA is allowed to become autonomous in setting its own standard, then all other states will have the ability to do so. Don't you think that politicians in each of the 13 CA v1 conforming sates would see an opportunity to set their own standards to best serve their state's interest and then act on it?

Now realize that each state has a different political climate (no pun intended), special interest groups, and voter support and it is highly unlikely that there will be the same standards across all states, given that in the legislation process will go thru each state's process and be subject to their own give and take. This is the logic behind having a federal standard in the first place.

So you can disagree with my opinion, but to call it repeating lies is utter BS, so before you proclaim to have the truth, please do some critical thinking.

Michael Konwiak / March 15, 2009 9:48 PM

Good Luck,

I would have to agree with Mark's interpretation of the bill. This bill will save Illinoisians money at the pump, protect their health, and help to slow down global warming. I don't know how this couldn't be more about the people.

Mark / March 16, 2009 12:14 AM

This is in response, with all due respect, to Good Luck / March 13, 2009 8:57 PM.

Good Luck said:
"The proposed IL law specifically pegs IL standard to the existing CA standard, not to whatever CA standard exists at any given time."

But the proposed Illinois law does not say what Good Luck says it says.

To the contrary, Sections 15(b) and 70 of the proposed Illinois law say exactly the opposite of what Good Luck said.

Section 15(b) says:
"(b) The provisions of the California Low Emission Vehicle Program (hereafter the Program), Title 13 CCR, Division 3, Chapters 1 and 2, as now or hereafter amended, and as defined and implemented by any other applicable California rules and regulations, are adopted and incorporated herein by reference, . . ."

Section 70 is entitled "Incorporating future amendments into the Illinois Clean Vehicle Program" and it says:
"The Illinois Pollution Control Board shall adopt amendments, and only those amendments, so that the Illinois Clean Vehicle Program is kept identical in substance,
to the program outlined in Title 13 CCR, Division 3, Chapters 1 and 2."

Thus, if the California standard is amended, the Illinois law adopts the amendment too. I'm confident that in this respect the other adopting states are the same, because the intent of the Illinois law is basically to get what the other adopting states get, namely the more efficient, lower polluting cars the automakers produce for the California market.

Good Luck / March 17, 2009 8:54 AM

I reread that section and see that itis linked to the CA standard. My mistake.

It doesn't change the fact that if you allow states to control their own standards, there will be multiple standards. Do you think the IL is going to be well served for long following the lead of nut jobs in CA?

They've run their state further into the ground than IL, and people are fleeing the state because of over-taxation and an anti-business climate.

...and the whole global warming thing is a total fabrication and farse. James Hansen's data has been picked apart so much that the whole hockey stick theory that Al Gore scared the shit out of the public with has been thouroughly discredited to the point that Gore doesn't use it in his presentations anymore.

Why is is called climate change now instead of global warming? Because the actual data shows that we haven't seen and increase of temperatures in 10 years.

And remember how global warming was supposed to cause an increase in hurricanes? Actual hurricane activity is at its lowest level in 30 years.

You folks should be on top of this stuff, because if I remember correctly, you hate it when politicians lie to you.

Mark / March 18, 2009 10:04 AM

This is in response to Good Luck / March 17, 2009 8:54 AM.

Good Luck said:
(1) "It doesn't change the fact that if you allow states to control their own standards, there will be multiple standards."
-- and --
(2) "[T]he whole global warming thing is a total fabrication and farce."

Both are incorrect.

California is the only state that can adopt emissions standards because it is the only state that adopted pollution control standards before the Clean Air Act, and so it's the only state the Clean Air Act allows to continue to do so.

Thus, other states including Illinois can only join the California standard or stay with the Federal standard.

The debate about whether humans cause climate change and whether that's a problem is over and has been for a while. Articles supporting the consensus of scientific experts just keep coming. A recent example is Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions, in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 10, 2009. It basically says even after CO2 emissions cease, atmospheric temperatures won't drop significantly for at least 1000 years.

So purely as a scientific matter, we've got to stop CO2 emissions.

The Illinois Clean Car Act is a step in the right direction.

Good Luck / March 18, 2009 9:33 PM


Step out of the echo chamber. There is no scientific concensus on "global warming". There never has been and there never will be. It is very interesting the the climate change debate has turned into a situation where people who believe in GW refuse to even think that there may be new information that refutes their beliefs, so they dismiss actual scientific debate in favor of blind faith in ideology. (hint: Its about money)

You use the same tactic to say that right now CA is the only state that can set their emission standards, and then you use that as a projection into the future, like it is a static fact and will never change.

So here you are arguing that the climate will absolutely change because of human interaction but that laws, which are a direct result of human interaction, are static and will never change.

Interesting logic.

Yep, nothing to see here. Just go along with poliicians. They've done a great job so far.

Good Luck / March 19, 2009 8:59 AM

How interesting that GB blocks comments that don't reflect the liberal zeitgeist.

So much for credibility.

What could you possibly be afraid of?

Andrew Huff / March 20, 2009 4:10 PM

Good Luck, we haven't actively blocked any comments. Your comment, which is now live, had more than three links in it, which automatically tripped our spam blocker software. Apologies.

Mark / March 21, 2009 1:02 AM

This is in response to Good Luck / March 18, 2009 9:33 PM

Good Luck said:
(1) "There is no scientific consensus on 'global warming.' There never has been and there never will be."
-- and --
(2) "You use the same tactic to say that right now CA is the only state that can set their emission standards, and then you use that as a projection into the future, like it is a static fact and will never change."

Both statements are incorrect.

(1) As for the first statement, with all due respect, I hope other readers of this forum will disagree with that view. Otherwise, the length of the discussion would far exceed the bandwidth of this forum and everyone's time and patience.

For now, it will have to suffice to quote a section of the Wikipedia article Scientific opinion on climate change. The section is entitled Statements by dissenting organizations and reads as follows:

"With the release of the revised statement by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in 2007, no remaining scientific body of national or international standing is known to reject the basic findings of human influence on recent climate change.

"Despite this, statements by individual scientists opposing the mainstream assessment of global warming do include claims that the observed warming is likely to be attributable to natural causes."

The Wikipedia article also cites statements by numerous national and international scientific organizations, which documents the existence of the consensus of expert scientific opinion. Good Luck, I hope you will read this article and give it serious thought.

(2) As for the second statement, it is a static fact that California "is the only state that can set their emission standards" because it is based on a historical fact that can never change. California is the only state that adopted a law prior to March 30, 1966, which falls within the grandfather clause of Section 209(b) of the Clean Air Act. Thus, it's the only state the Clean Air Act allows to continue to do so.

This is a time for serious thought, without emotion and divorced from political views and economic self interest. It is a moral imperative.

We must be guided by the judgment of the best available scientific experts. Climate change is real. The low end of the range of adverse impacts is already extremely serious. The high end of the range is catastrophic.

It is time for action. Greenhouse gas emissions must be cut. The Illinois Clean Cars Act is a step in the right direction.

I ask everyone to contact their State Senators and Representatives and urge them to support it. (They can be found very easily using the Civic Footprint website.)

I hope everyone will take other actions and support other legislation necessary to stewardship of the planet for future generations.

Jeff SmithAuthor Profile Page / March 25, 2009 7:27 AM

The opinion within the scientific community, while not unanimous, is pretty lopsided. It's not just the IPCC. There are dissenters but it is a minority viewpoint. I acknowledge that a minority viewpoint may be correct even if outnumbered. But overall, the vast majority of studies look at this from multiple angles and come to similar conclusions.

Note that there are dissenters in the opposite direction as well. The biggest of the myths circulating is that global warming is some sort of one-world conspiracy, with promoters of this theory alleging that the IPCC is somehow some sort of governmental document. It is not. While it is multinational and UN-sponsored, the political input, if anything, served to muffle and mute the IPCC findings, which otherwise might have people more alarmed and taking faster action. If it was up to the scientists, the language would probably be a little stronger and the conclusions and recommendations likewise.

The recent research-university-organized International Scientific Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen,
was specifically organized in reaction to "what many participants described as the overly conservative findings" of the 2007 IPCC report, and the general sense that the "worst case scenarios" of the IPCC report are being realized.

That's consistent with the also-just-concluded report from the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, the result of two years of research by scientists from 60 countries, which found that due to glacial and esp. antarctic melting, sea levels will climb higher than predicted by the IPCC.

Sadly, the right-wing blogosphere has taken the "political interference" and turned it on its head, suggesting that the IPCC report was politicized into some sort of UN leftist propaganda, when, really the opposite is true.

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