Wednesday, December 12, 2007

California Wins Global Warming Case Brought by Auto Industry

In a significant victory in the fight to reduce global warming pollution, today the Federal District Court in Fresno dismissed the auto industry's claims that federal law barred California from enforcing it own motor vehicle greenhouse gas regulations. In a 57-page decision, Judge Anthony Ishii held that these regulations did not in any way conflict with either federal fuel economy laws or with the President's power to conduct foreign policy. Emphasizing that the Clean Air Act expressly authorizes California to regulate emissions that affect human health and the environment, Judge Ishii found that Congress did not intend that this authority be curtailed by federal fuel economy laws. Sierra Club intervened in the case, on the side of the California Air Resources Board, which had set the clean-car standards ordered by Assembly Bill 1493 of 2002, authored by Fran Pavley.

Once again a judge has found the auto industry’s desperate attempts to stay mired in outdated, dirty technology completely without merit. Today’s decision is just one more reason why EPA should stop dragging its feet and grant the waiver California needs to move forward with this vital tool to combat global warming.

Just as we said earlier this year when we celebrated a similar victory in a Vermont court, instead of the automakers thinking of excuses, it’s time for them to put their immense know-how toward solving some of our most pressing problems. This ruling should compel the U.S. automakers to make the kind of clean, efficient cars Americans want--the kind that foreign automakers have used to surge to record profits as the U.S. auto industry buckled under the weight of its gas guzzlers. This ruling is good for the environment, good for America, and, ultimately, good for the automakers.

It’s now time for the Bush Administration’s EPA to get out of the way and grant California the waiver it and other states need in order to move forward with these landmark protections.

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