Read the full article on Canadian Press

U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday his government will push for allowing states to implement stricter vehicle emissions, a significant shift in policy from the previous administration of George W. Bush.

California and at least a dozen other states have tried to come up with tougher emission standards than those imposed by the federal government but were stymied in their efforts by the Bush administration.

"California has shown bold and bipartisan leadership through its effort to forge 21st-century standards, and over a dozen states have followed its lead, but instead of serving as a partner, Washington stood in their way," Obama told reporters at the White House.

On car emissions, California needed a waiver from the Clean Air Act to pursue its own course; the Bush administration's Environmental Protection Agency denied that permission.

Obama said he will direct EPA regulators to re-examine California's case. The formal process will take time but is expected to end up in the states' favour. The Bush administration had rejected the request on grounds that a national fuel-efficiency strategy would work better.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has lobbied Obama to step in and reverse the decision. As a candidate for president, Obama pledged to overturn the EPA's denial.

"By beginning this process and directing EPA to review the Bush administration's lack of action, President Obama is turning the federal government into a force for positive change instead of a roadblock," said the Sierra Club's executive director, Carl Pope.

Read the full article on Canadian Press