Last month, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson denied California a waiver that would have allowed 16 states to implement landmark automobile greenhouse emissions reductions.
In last night’s Republican presidential debate, all four candidates said they supported California’s efforts. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney emphasized that states should “be able to make their own regulations with regards to emissions.” He confirmed again later in the debate:
Q: Just so I’m clear, you said you side with the states. That means you side with Governor Schwarzenegger —
ROMNEY: I side with states being able to make their own decisions, even if I don’t always agree with the decisions they make.
But Romney didn’t want to side with the environment for too long. The AP reports that “[a]fter the debate,” — and after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — “Romney’s campaign issued a statement in which he said that the federal government, not individual states, should set limits on carbon emissions.”
Romney’s alleged support of California’s emissions waiver is further discredited by the fact that on Jan. 4, he was skeptical of states’ efforts in an interview with the Detroit News Editorial Board:
[The energy bill] does maintain the distinction between light trucks and automotive (standards), which is encouraging, although it leaves open the door to states putting in place tougher standards and the EPA putting in place additional regulations.
For Romney, the right answer is always a multiple choice problem.