A U.S. district court judge December 12 threw out a suit by the automotive industry that claims California\u2019s greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars cannot be legally enforced. In a 57-page ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Fresno, Judge Anthony Ishii rejected arguments by the auto industry that the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act and foreign policy doctrine pre-empt California from setting the standards. \u201cCalifornia,\u201d wrote Ishii, is \u201cempowered through the Clean Air Act to promulgate regulations that limit emission of greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide, from motor vehicles.\u201d California Attorney General Jerry Brown heralded the decision, calling it a \u201cstinging rejection\u201d of the industry\u2019s challenge to California\u2019s greenhouse gas emissions law for vehicles. Under a 2002 law, AB 1493, automakers are to cut greenhouse gases from cars sold in California by 30 percent by 2016. Cars emit about 30 percent of the state\u2019s greenhouse gases and 20 percent of the nation\u2019s emissions. Other states in the Northeast have opted to enforce the limit within their borders too under a provision of the federal Clean Air Act. That clause allows California to set its own automotive emissions standards that are stricter than federal requirements. The Act further allows other states to enforce standards identical to California\u2019s in lieu of federal ones, though they are prohibited from setting their own unique standards. Reacting to the court action, an auto industry trade group said it might appeal. \u201cWe need a consistent national policy for fuel economy, and this nationwide policy cannot be written by a single state or group of states,\u201d said Dave McCurdy, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers chief executive officer. However, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger predicted the California and other states ultimately \u201cwill prevail in our goal to take aggressive action on climate change.\u201d In challenging the California standards, the industry argued that they were aimed at increasing vehicle mileage, not reducing emissions of an air pollutant under the federal Clean Air Act. However, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in April that CO2 is an air pollutant that the federal Environmental Protection Agency and California can regulate under the Act. Following that ruling, a Vermont district court judge in September dismissed a similar suit filed by the auto industry against enforcement of the California greenhouse gas emissions standards in the Northeast. Before Ishii, the industry also argued that California\u2019s emissions standards eliminated the President\u2019s ability to hold rules on greenhouse gas emissions in abeyance as a \u201cbargaining chip\u201d in international negotiations on global warming. Ishii rejected the argument, writing that the automakers had failed to make even a \u201cprima facie case.\u201d After the previous legal victories for the state standards, Brown said the latest \u201ccourt ruling leaves the Bush Administration as the last remaining roadblock to California\u2019s regulation of tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions.\u201d Before states can enforce those standards, U.S. EPA must issue a waiver under the Clean Air Act. U.S. EPA has issued all previous waivers requested by California, but dragged its heels on granting permission to enforce the state\u2019s greenhouse gas limits. Last month, the delay prompted Brown and a group of states to ask a federal court to order U.S. EPA to issue the waiver. U.S. EPA promised a decision by the end of the year.