FRESNO (CN) – A federal judge has upheld a California law requiring new cars and trucks to emit 30 percent fewer greenhouse gases by 2016, starting with 2009 models.
U.S. District Judge Anthony Ishii rejected automakers’ claim that U.S. foreign policy and fuel-economy laws pre-empt state authority to regulate vehicle emissions. Ishii called the argument “an apparent attempt to bootstrap EPA’s rationalization into a pronouncement of foreign policy.”
Automakers also claimed that the state has yet to get a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency allowing the state to apply stricter emissions standards than those found in the Clean Air Act. The EPA has so far delayed the waiver.
The ruling puts pressure on the EPA to grant the waiver. Ishii said it would “be the very definition of folly” if, given the current climate science, the EPA’s hands were tied simply because the emissions reduction was incompatible with existing mileage standards.
Analysts say the agency and the Bush administration are reluctant to adopt the more rigorous standard for fear of how it will affect the U.S. automobile industry.
California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown applauded the ruling as a “major legal victory for California and a stinging rejection of the automobile industry’s legal challenge to greenhouse gas emissions standards.” See ruling.