Federal Court Says States Can Regulate Vehicular Emissions to Reduce Greenhouse Gases
The court also rejected automaker assertions that implementing the regulations would present engineering and economic difficulties to such an extent that cars would become unaffordable and unsafe. The court found such outcomes improbable in an industry that prides itself on "modernity, flexibility and innovativeness". The court concluded that "[h]istory suggests that the ingenuity of the industry, once put in gear, responds admirably to most technological challenges."
The Vermont statute was based on California regulations, which were based in turn on Section 209 of the federal Clean Air Act. Section 209(b) allows California to establish its own emissions standards, and Section 209(a) allows EPA to grant waivers from preemption for such standards. The court's decision is a boost to California's statute; however, enforceability of the statute, and others based upon it, depends on whether the EPA grants a waiver under the Clean Air Act, thus allowing California to implement its stringent emissions controls. The state's request for a waiver has been pending at EPA since 2005. The U.S. Supreme Court Massachusetts v. EPA case earlier this year cleared the way for greenhouse gas emissions regulation by EPA; however, EPA has still not acted on the waiver request. In a related action, automakers have challenged California's regulations in federal court on grounds similar to those in the Vermont case. The case is set for hearing on October 22, 2007 in Fresno.
The Vermont case is Green Mountain Chrysler Plymouth Dodge Jeep, et al. v. George Crombie, et al., United States District Court for the District of Vermont, Case No. 2:05-cv-302, consolidated with Case No. 2:05-cv-304, dated September 12, 2007.ShareThis