California says yes to stricter vehicle emissions, no to dirty coal

California keeps pushing to be the Greenest State Ever, No Seriously, Like Ever. At an EPA hearing Tuesday, state officials demanded permission to enact vehicle emissions rules that would be stricter than federal guidelines. Under the Clean Air Act, states can follow either federal or California law, and 11 states say they’ll adopt the tougher rule — which could cut car and light-truck emissions 25 percent starting with 2009 models. “This is more important than any issue that EPA’s going to have to face,” said state Attorney General Jerry Brown. Yesterday, the state also told municipal-owned utilities they can’t sign new contracts with coal-fired power plants. Current contracts, such as whopping ones Los Angeles has with Utah and Arizona plants, can’t be renewed unless the plants sequester carbon emissions. A California Energy Commission spokesperson said the shift, along with an identical new rule for privately run utilities, “will reduce greenhouse-gas emissions throughout the Western states.”