WASHINGTON, D.C. - Frustrated with the federal government's decision to block his state's greenhouse gas emission standards, California Attorney General Jerry Brown will lead a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency.
The suit was filed Wednesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. EPA administrator Steven Johnson had notified the State Dec. 19 that the State did not have an extraodinary need to cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars by 30 percent by 2016.
"The denial letter was shocking in its incoherence and utter failure to provide legal justification for the administrator's unprecedented action," Brown said. "The EPA has done nothing at the national level to curb greenhouse gases and now it has wrongfully and illegally blocked California's landmark tailpipe emissions standards, despite the fact that 16 states have moved to adopt them."
Though California has stricter emissions measures than the EPA's Clean Air Act, courts have ruled that adopting California's restrictions does not preempt federal law. The State was seeking a waiver of federal preemption.
Other states joining in the suit are Massachusetts, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
"The EPA's attempt to stop New York and other states from taking on global warming pollution from automobiles is shameful," New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said. "As recognized by the scientific community and most world leaders, global warming will have devastating impacts on our environment, health, and economy if it continues to go unchecked."
Johnson wrote that a bill signed by President George Bush Dec. 19 will be action enough against global warming, which Brown claims is threatening his state's environment. In the bill, cars and light trucks will be required to get a combined mileage of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.
"This legislation will deliver energy security benefits and bring a much needed national approach to addressing global climate change, improving the environment for all Americans," Johnson wrote.