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J. Mijin Cha on October 25, 2007 - 7:34am
California's attorney general is planning to file suit in federal court against the EPA for stalling on a decision about whether California and 11 other states can implement rules requiring car makers to produce cleaner cars. Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Washington also plan to join the suit against the EPA. The suit was to be filed this week, but has been postponed due to the wildfires raging in Southern California.
California is suing to force the EPA to act on a request to enforce California's Clean Car legislation. The Clean Car legislation requires car makers to reduce global warming emissions from new passenger cars and light trucks beginning in 2009 and aims to cut emissions 25% by 2030. Before the law can be implemented, however, California must request a waiver from the EPA under the Clean Air Act because the state would be implementing its own motor vehicle emissions standard that would be different from Federal regulations. California first requested the waiver in December 2005, almost two years ago. Fed up with EPA inaction, California is turning to the courts. The suit also falls on the heels of an earlier Supreme Court decision that decided the EPA had the authority to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act, a precedent that opens the way for California to enact its own regulations under the Act if granted a waiver.
The delay affects more than just California. Once the waiver has been granted, other states can adopt California's standards, which are significantly more advanced than Federal ones. To date, 11 other states have adopted California's clean car standards and are waiting to implement them. That means that 35% of the population would be under California's emissions rule if the EPA would grant the waiver. The EPA's inaction is inexcusable and just another example of its utter failure to act to protect the environment, including exempting pesticides from the Clean Water Act, adopting air quality standards that actually endanger public health, and appointing Exxon's former chief to chart America's energy future. All of which makes one wonder, what happened to the "environmental protection" part of EPA?