ANDREA SEABROOK, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Andrea Seabrook.
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
And I'm Michele Norris. Today, President Bush ordered his administration to tackle the problem of greenhouse gas emissions from cars. The administration had argued that it didn't have the power to restrict those emissions, but the Supreme Court disagreed, saying it would be very hard for the government to avoid writing new regulations.
As NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports, today's announcement is the administration's first step in response to the court's decision.
ELIZABETH SHOGREN: President Bush called reporters to the Rose Garden this afternoon to talk about what he called the country's addiction to oil and what he's going to do about it.
President GEORGE W. BUSH: Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA must take action under the Clean Air Act regarding greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.So today, I'm directing the EPA and the Department of Transportation, Energy and Agriculture to take the first steps toward regulations that would cut gasoline consumption and greenhouse gas emissions for motor vehicles.
SHOGREN: The president says in crafting the rules, the agency should start with his pledge from the State of the Union Address. He vowed to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent in 10 years by improving fuel economy and increasing the use of alternative fuels.
But today, the president didn't have many details to offer. He did say drafting the new rules won't be easy, and they won't be ready until the end of next year. In the meantime, he urged Congress to move ahead with legislation to cut fuel use.
Pres. BUSH: When it comes to energy and the environment, the American people expect common sense, and they expect action.
SHOGREN: In particular, he asked Congress to pass his proposal to increase the amount of ethanol and bio-diesel in vehicle fuels. Under the president's proposal, 10 years from now, 15 percent of the fuels for cars and trucks would come from renewable sources. Congress already has started working on its own version of the president's proposal, and Democratic congressional leaders have pledged to pass broader legislation that would cut greenhouse gas emissions from all sources including cars.
Some environmentalists said the president's goal is very ambitious.
Mr. DAVID FRIEDMAN (Clean Vehicles Research Director, Union of Concerned Scientists): If the president delivers on this and guarantees this will progress, we will stand up and cheer, because this is what Americans need.
SHOGREN: That's David Friedman from the Union of Concerned Scientists. He says he's going to hold his applause until he sees the regulation the EPA produces.
Mr. FRIEDMAN: Remember, the president put out his goal back in January, and it took the Supreme Court decision to push him to take it a step further.
SHOGREN: Other environmentalists worry that the Bush administration will use this regulatory process as an excuse to derail efforts by California and about a dozen other states to cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars. Those states need the EPA's approval before they can go ahead with their own programs. Elizabeth Shogren, NPR News, Washington.