Call to Adopt California Emission Standards in New Jersey

Editorial advocates state follow California's lead to help cut auto emissions.

Published: 25-Aug-2003

To hear the most rabid environmentalists tell it, adoption in New Jersey of the so-called "California car" would solve all of the Garden State's air-pollution problems. To hear the business community tell it, bringing the California car to New Jersey would bankrupt many of the state's industries, starting with automobile manufacturers and car dealerships.

As is so often the case, both sides in this dispute are prone to exaggeration. Mandating the sale of California cars in New Jersey would likely have no greater impact on the automobile industry than the introduction of seat belts and air bags had. At the same time, the California car would probably prove less effective in cleaning up New Jersey's air than installing up-to-date pollution-control technology on coal-burning power plants in the Midwest.

But the California car would have a beneficial effect on air quality in New Jersey, where the severity of our air-pollution problem is second only to California's. As such, it should be one of several strategies employed to bring the Garden State into compliance with the federal Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

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