Mich. AG: Leave emissions standards to Congress

By Chris Rizo | Jan 26, 2009

Mike Cox (R)

LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline)-Siding with his state's auto industry, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox says Congress, not individual states, should regulate tailpipe emissions.

The Republican attorney general filed an amicus brief in the California's lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in which the Golden State wants to require a 30 percent cut in tailpipe emissions, such as carbon dioxide, by 2016.

Cox says California's standard would force car companies to reach "an unreasonable" fuel efficiency standard of 49 miles per gallon by 2020.

"The auto industry is working hard to reform and retool. Allowing state-by-state fuel efficiency standards would be devastating to the auto industry," Cox said in a statement.

Michigan's automakers -- General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC -- and companies represented by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers sued to block California's rules.

"As an environmentalist, we need to be conscious of measures that will maintain a clean environment for our children. However, in order to address global greenhouse gas emissions, we need a national strategy, not a one-state or multistate solution," Cox said.

In his brief, Cox argued that the federal Clean Air Act and the U.S. Energy Policy and Conservation Act preempt California from regulating auto emissions.

When the two federal laws were passed, Cox said Congress made clear that it intended to protect automobile makers from individual state regulations.

"If California and a handful of other states are allowed to dictate environmental policy for the entire country on a state-by-state basis and not a uniform basis, our nation's economy will become further weakened," Cox said. "I will not stand by silently while a handful of states try to drown the U.S. auto industry in new regulation."

On Monday, President Barack Obama is expected to order EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to reevaluate the agency's decision not to allow California to impose emissions standards, The Washington Post reported, citing White House sources.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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