President Barack Obama is expected to issue new environmental regulations today, reversing the Bush administration’s climate change policies by allowing several states to set tougher car emission and fuel efficiency standards.
Granting California and 13 other states the right to regulate emissions is a sharp departure from President George W Bush’s line on the environment and has been opposed by car makers.
According to The New York Times, Mr Obama will order the US Environmental Protection Agency to begin work immediately on granting the so-called California waiver, which allows the state – long in the vanguard on environmental matters – to set its own standards for car emissions.
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In his White House announcement, Mr Obama is also expected to direct federal agencies to make all government buildings more energy efficient. The new administration hopes to achieve energy savings of up to $2 billion (£1.5 billion) per year, as well as a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming.
The presidential orders will require vehicle manufacturers to speed efforts to make and sell cars and trucks that get higher mileage than the national standard, congressional officials said.