Obama's clean cars might mean Florida emissions fight
President Obama's decision Monday to order federal regulators to swiftly respond to California's request to set strict new emissions standards for cars and trucks will have some interesting consequences for Florida.
Florida's rules were approved last month in a close vote before the Florida Environmental Regulation Commission, but the measure must get a legislative okay and opponents -- from auto dealers and manufacturers to yacht brokers -- were prepared to mount a major fight to urge a delay this legislative session and await word from the new administration.
Obama's order, however, may make even that argument a tough sell. Obama not only ordered the federal Department of Transportation to begin drafting rules for imposing higher fuel-efficiency standards on cars and light trucks, he wants a temporary rule completed by March. The idea is to give automakers enough time to retool so that vehicles sold in 2011 can meet the clean-car standards. If Florida's rule is approved in time, cars sold here might have to meet the standards too.