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Romney Flip-Flops On California Emissions Waiver

Contact: David Sandretti, (202) 785-8683 or January 31, 2008  

LOS ANGELES, CA – The League of Conservation Voters released the following statement in reaction to the stunning reversal of Governor Romney on California's auto emissions waiver.

During last night's debate, Governor Romney stated that he would allow California and other states to implement tough global warming measures including ones that regulate emissions from vehicles. The Bush Administration is currently blocking these states by refusing to grant a waiver.

Last night Romney said, "I side with states to be able to make their own regulations with regards to emissions within their own states."

After the debate, in a statement obtained by LCV from the Detroit Free Press, Romney said this:  "As Governor of a state, and in the absence ofany clear authority that the federal government had the ability to regulate CO2 emissions, I supported the right of states to address these issues. These sorts of more aggressive state-by-state regulations make most sense when dealing with regional issues like air quality.  But when it comes to something like CO2 emissions, which are a global problem, not a California-specific problem, and when Michigan makes the same cars and trucks regardless of whether they are bound for California, Vermont or (even) Massachusetts, it makes more sense to have one set of Federal rules to address CO2 emissions from vehicles rather than a patchwork of different State regulations."

Romney would win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics for that flip-flop.  In the span of one night he reversed his position.

Romney has often appeared to 'customize' his positions on these issues for his audience and the next election.  Maybe he thought he was still governor of Massachusetts when he supported tough emissions standards and forgot that he had changed his position on emissions and fuel efficiency when campaigning in the Michigan primary. Maybe he was hoping that California and Gov. Schwarzenegger, who was sitting in the front row last night, didn't hear what he said in Michigan.  We wonder if he released this statement to news outlets outside the 313 area code.

Last night, we were happy to hear all four candidates voice their support for the waiver.  We thought it was too good to be true.  To our regret, Mitt Romney's reversal proved that it was.

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