California Debates Anti-Steering Laws
California state assembly member Mary Hayashi (D) has introduced California Assembly Bill 1200, an act to amend motor vehicle insurance through direct repair programs. After failing to pass the state's Senate, the bill has been granted reconsideration and is currently pending in the Senate.
California's existing law prohibits insurers from requiring that an automobile be repaired at a specific automotive repair dealer. Under existing law, an insurer may suggest or recommend a specific automotive repair shop under certain specified circumstances.
If Hayashi's bill is passed, A.B. 1200 would allow insurers to recommend repair shops to their clients. Further, it would authorize an insurer to provide specific truthful and nondeceptive information to the claimant during the claims process.
EPA Pushes for States' Attainment of Standard
In a final implementation rule, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is allowing states credit for emissions reductions outside of non-attainment areas. States, however, must demonstrate that the emissions reductions benefit their non-attainment areas.
States can only claim credit for reductions for pollution cuts taking place within a state's own boundaries. This final rule focuses on bringing individual states into attainment with the EPA's air standard.
The EPA has also tightened the provision's requirements by mandating that all emissions reductions from sources for which the state is claiming must be included in the emissions baseline. A state must also demonstrate that the outside emissions would have contributed to poor air quality within the non-attainment area.
EPA Strives for National GHG Regulation
In other EPA news, the agency has recently sent its first major rule to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from motor vehicles to the White House for review. This proposal marks the first of several upcoming proposals that will impose limits on pollutants linked to climate change.
The EPA's other projects include two additional GHG rules, and a separate proposal to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to establish a threshold for limiting GHGs in prevention of deterioration permits and human health and welfare.
On Aug. 25, 2009, the agency sent its "Control of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Light-duty Vehicles" rule to the White House's OMB. This rule proposes to establish tailpipe GHG emission standards for cars and light trucks.
With many projects pertaining to GHGs on the horizon, the EPA will finalize its proposed findings that GHGs are endangering the health and welfare of current and future generations as a prerequisite to finalizing any GHG standards.
Congress Proposes Permanent Solution for Cash for Clunkers
U.S. Sens. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.; and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine; have introduced Senate Bill 620, the "Efficient Vehicle Leadership Act." S.B. 1620 would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives and fees for increasing motor vehicle fuel economy.
The bill, which proposes a permanent solution for Cash for Clunkers, has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. Bingaman and Snowe are members of that committee.
Motorists who buy models that exceed Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standard will receive a "fuel performance rebate," an amount tied to the fuel savings over and above the relevant CAFÉ standard. The savings can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
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