By Caroline Holland
Collision Division Director Supports Legislation
Two bills in Minnesota – one related to shop licensing, the other prohibiting insurer-owned collision repair shops – passed out of the House Commerce Committee March 11. House File 3864 – establishing licensing standards for collision repair shops – was referred to the House Public Safety Committee. House File 3823 – prohibiting automobile insurers from owning automotive repair facilities – was referred to the House floor.
Darrell Amberson, president of Lehman’s Garage and director of ASA’s Collision Division, testified in support of the legislation. The only opposing testimony came from an Allstate representative who stated this was a solution for a non-issue.
EPA Calls for Amendments to Clean Air Act
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Stephen Johnson plans to ask Congress to amend the nearly 37-year-old Clean Air Act to allow the agency to consider cost and feasibility of controlling pollution when making decisions about air quality. This came after the EPA announced on March 12 that it will limit the allowable amount of pollution-forming ozone in the air to .075 parts per million.
Johnson has argued for amendments to the Clean Air Act after facing difficulties in setting the ozone standard, a pending lead standard and the 2006 particulate matter (PM) standard. The EPA has released a set of four principles that will guide the agency in its submission of legislation to Congress. The principles state that air quality must protect public health and improve the well-being of our citizens; should allow decision-makers to consider benefits, costs, risk trade-offs, and feasibility in making decisions; provide greater accountability and enforcement; and allow the agency a flexible schedule for addressing national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS).
Environmentalists and states were disappointed with the new standard set after the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), environmental and public health groups urged the EPA to set a stricter standard, between 0.060-0.070 parts per million. Industry groups, however, urged the EPA to retain the current standard of 0.080 parts per million.
Committee Chairman Subpoenas EPA Documents
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, subpoenaed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) documents March 13, 2008, regarding the agency’s denial of California’s request for a waiver from the Clean Air Act and authority to limit greenhouse gases from motor vehicles.
The committee, along with Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is specifically seeking documents regarding EPA correspondence with the White House and Justice Department prior to the California waiver denial. The EPA has already provided some documents, though both Boxer and Waxman have complained that some have been edited, and EPA officials have asserted executive branch confidentiality in withholding other documents. The EPA denied California’s waiver request Dec. 19, 2007, stating that global warming is a problem that should be addressed through national and international policies.
Minnesota House Files 3864 and 3823 are available on the Automotive Service Association’s legislative Web site, www.TakingTheHill.com.
The bills can be found under “Track Current Legislation” under the list of State Legislative Bills.
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