We're entering the Balkanization of America's environmental policy. New York and Massachusetts may try to opt out of federal tailpipe-emissions rules and instead adopt versions of California's rules.
New York Gov. George Pataki has said his state will adopt California rules for 2004 and beyond - without even knowing what the federal standards will be. So now he wants California's goofy and improbable requirement for electric fleets, and he won't even commit to California's requirements for low-sulfur fuel.
The benefits for New Yorkers? Negligible, though the costs may be high.
California, with its special problems, may need to be a laboratory. But American policy should be American, not the conflicting policies of little Balkanized states.