Vermont ruling readies Cal. to sue Feds over GHG tailpipe limits

Legal News Line Sep. 14, 2007, 7:15am

Jerry Brown

SACRAMENTO -- California Attorney General Jerry Brown celebrated an out-of-state win for the Golden State's tough new vehicle-emissions standards by repeating a threat to sue the federal government. In a news release Wednesday, Brown said a decision in Vermont federal court allowing states to set their own emissions standards depends on action from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The court ruled such standards do not pre-empt federal law. Automakers sued Vermont in 2005, arguing that their technology could not comply with the state's exhaust mandate. Vermont and 13 other states have adopted California's standards to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from vehicle tailpipes by 30 percent from 2009 to 2016. Brown, a Democrat, and California's Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger gave six months notice in late April that they would sue the EPA for a 'waiver' to enforce the new standards, LNL reported. "We will haul the Bush administration into court if it persists in stalling on our request to regulate emissions from motor vehicles," Brown stated. "[T]oday's decision...will turn out to be a hollow victory if the EPA persists in denying California's waiver petition." "Our petition represents a reasoned approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and it has been shamefully ignored [by the EPA] for almost two years," Brown added. Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell, a fellow-Democrat, hailed the ruling by U.S. District Judge William Sessions against the car-makers, LNL reported Wednesday. Sessions wrote that technologies already exist to help automakers meet Vermont's emissions standards. If and when California receives its waiver, Vermont and other states that have adopted similar regulations will receive one too. States adopting California's new standards include Oregon, Washington and New Mexico in the west and Florida, New York and Massachusetts in the east. California will sue the EPA if it does not get its waiver by Oct. 25.

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