California is taking the Environmental Protection Agency to court again over the agency's recent decision to block the state's greenhouse gas emissions law for vehicles.
Fifteen other states, which would also adopt California's law if allowed, have joined the suit, as have four environmental groups.
California is the lone state with the right to set air quality standards that are more strict than the federal government's standards, but it must get a Clean Air Act waiver from the EPA to do so. Once it has been granted the authority, other states can follow suit.
The Supreme Court, in a landmark decision last spring, ruled in favor of California, stating that the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. But the EPA in December rejected California's waiver, arguing that the energy bill passed by Congress, which includes new vehicle fuel economy standards, is a better system for reducing global warming pollution, rather than a state-by-state "patchwork." It was the first waiver the EPA had ever rejected. Environmental groups and some of California's elected leaders charged Vice President Dick Cheney with influencing the decision after meeting with auto industry representatives, given that EPA staff recommended granting the waiver.
Now, it will be up to the courts to decide, again. (California and New Hampshire have also won state-level decisions related to the legality of this rule.)
Blocking Californias global warming standards is a desperate final act of denial from an administration with just one year left to live. Clearly, carving a new legacy on global warming was not one of the administrations New Years resolutions," said David Doniger, policy director of the Climate Center at NRDC. The Bush administrations claim that it knows better than the law of the land is exactly the sort of behavior that the Supreme Court struck down in its landmark global warming decision last year. That is why EPA will lose again, and why the states leadership in the fight against global warming will prevail."
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