CA Sues EPA on Emissions Waiver

By Published On: November 9, 2007

Although nearly three weeks behind schedule because of serious wildfires, California sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency November 8 for failing to decide whether to approve the state’s law limiting tailpipe emissions from vehicles. State officials have been prodding the agency to grant a Clean Air Act waiver for more than two years to allow its carbon reduction measure, AB 1493, to take effect. “Our air quality, our health and our environment are too important to delay any longer, and it is not just the people of California who are waiting,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He warned U.S. EPA administrator Stephen Johnson last May that he would sue if a decision on a requisite Clean Air Act waiver was not made by October 22. There are 14 other states pursing vehicle emission control laws. They are expected to also file suit against EPA this week because they can’t move ahead until California’s waiver is approved. “The [federal] administration’s obstructionism goes beyond mere procrastination,” stated the Center for American Progress. The suit was filed by the California Attorney General in federal courts in the District of Columbia. It targets EPA and the large car manufacturers, from General Motors to Nissan, for blocking global warming efforts. The vehicle manufacturers are huge global warming contributors, estimated to be responsible for 289 million metric tons a year, according to the suit. Dave McCurdy, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers chief executive officer, stated, “It is the view of the Alliance that enhancing energy security and improving fuel economy are priorities to all Americans, but a patchwork quilt of regulations at the state level is not the answer.” The complaint alleges that EPA’s failure to grant a Clean Air Act waiver exacerbates global warming that harms the state’s resources and people, creating a public nuisance under both federal and state law. The emissions constitute an “unreasonable interference with public rights,” injuring the state’s residents, environment, and economy. The attorney general seeks an unspecified level of monetary damages, and recovery of its legal expenses.

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