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Oregon Editors Say

Senate takes the wrong road

Kulongoski should veto its ban on stricter auto emission standards

The (Klamath Falls) Herald and News

The Legislature had a chance to work with Gov. Ted Kulongoski to develop an emissions control policy for the state. Instead, the best it could do was send along a heck no as part of the budget for the Department of Environmental Quality.

The Senate barely approved the department's budget last week. It includes a provision that prohibits the department from developing and enforcing vehicle emissions standards that match California's, which are stricter than Oregon's.

Washington state is willing to match California's standards, but only if Oregon also does it. That would present a united West Coast front on the issue that might make an impact on the nation. California, of course, is the big player.

Seven other states have already adopted the California standards and the increasing number of states doing so should prod the Bush administration into showing some leadership on the issue. In addition to reducing greenhouse gases that are implicated in global warming, cutting back emissions is also likely to lead to reduced fuel consumption and less reliance on foreign oil.

Kulongoski said earlier this year that he would implement the changes by administrative rule, something that struck us at the time as wrong because we thought the seriousness of the issue warranted legislative support, and the process shouldn't be shortcut.

— Instead, a late-session budget deal was negotiated that included the provision ruling out the stricter standards, and was passed by a 16-14 vote in the Senate.

That's legislative action of a sort, we suppose, but it's the wrong action and, wrapped up in the overall budget hassle, it's hard to believe it got the consideration it was due.

Kulongoski has a line-item veto and should use it to delete the prohibition against stricter standards. Then he should go ahead and do what he said he'd do months ago and implement stronger emission controls.