Automakers Lose California Global Warming Lawsuit – A Short-Lived Victory?

Automakers Lose California Global Warming Lawsuit – A Short-Lived Victory?
on

And just like that it’s over, kind of.

After years of effectively blocking California’s 2002 law calling for strict new greenhouse gas emissions standards for all new vehicles, a lawsuit filed against the State by major automakers was thrown out of court yesterday.

Federal district court Judge Anthony Ishii issued a strong rebuke to the automobile industry’s attempt to derail the California Clean Car program that would reduce global warming pollution from motor vehicles.

At the heart of the lawsuit was whether the State of California has the legal authority to regulate greenhouse gas as a pollutant, and if considered a pollutant whether California was superseding the authority of the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

For a comprehensive backgrounder on this lawsuit go here.

The first breakthrough came in April of this year when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases are air pollutants subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act.

The final hurdle now is the question of whether California has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases in their State. And here’s the rub – in order for California to have such authority it must receive a waiver from the federal government’s (read: George W Bush) Environmental Protection Agency.

The application for this waiver was submitted over 2 years ago, and the head of the EPA, Stephen Johnson, has committed to making a final decision by the end of this year (17 days and counting).

In a recent online forum, Johnson stated that the:

EPA is following the legally mandated process for evaluating California’s petition and doing so in an expeditious yet responsible way. My commitment to Governor Schwarzenegger is to finish the analysis and make a decision by the end of the year.”

The EPA waiver is President Bush’s last stand and while their is a sense of optimism right now, a sober second look at the situation leads me the believe that this latest victory may be short-lived.

Sources tapped into the State government are telling me that the office of California’s Attorney General is hard at work already planning their legal options once the EPA denies the waiver. Watch for a flurry of court activity almost immediately after the decision, with California trying to get a quick decision from a judge that will allow them to implement the law in time for 2009.

The formal decision announced yesterday can be found here (pdf) and I’ve also attached it to the end of this post.

Automakers Lose California Global Warming Lawsuit – A Short-Lived Victory?

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

Related Posts

on

The Vermont senator nevertheless supported final passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, calling it "a step forward" on climate and drug prices.

The Vermont senator nevertheless supported final passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, calling it "a step forward" on climate and drug prices.
on

Campaigners say action on climate change is in jeopardy if MPs such as climate science denier John Redwood are granted key posts.

Campaigners say action on climate change is in jeopardy if MPs such as climate science denier John Redwood are granted key posts.
on

British Airways owner IAG led the list of buyers last year, analysis shows.

British Airways owner IAG led the list of buyers last year, analysis shows.
on

The protesters attempted to draw attention to the urgent need for large-scale climate action and pressure Democrat legislators to act.

The protesters attempted to draw attention to the urgent need for large-scale climate action and pressure Democrat legislators to act.