• Dec 18th 2006 at 7:49AM
  • 16
Remember that lawsuit filed by California State Attorney General Bill Lockyer back in September? The one accusing the automakers of harming the environment and people's health by building cars that pollute too much? The one that some people considered nothing more than a publicity stunt? Well, the accused automakers do. And they have an answer for Lockyer. On Friday, lawyers for those six automakers asked a federal judge to dismiss the suit.

They filed a 35-page motion to dismiss, and their attorney added the issue should be handled through regulation not litigation. Theodore J. Boutrous, the lawyer for the group of automakers that includes Chrysler Motors Corp., General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor North America Inc., American Honda Motor Co. and Nissan North America Inc., said the lawsuit has no merit, and during an interview he added, "These products are lawful, they are expressly allowed by federal and state law and California encourages their use." The state alone has half a million government-owned vehicles in use. With 32.5 million vehicles on the road, California accounts for 13.5 percent of all U.S. vehicles, according to the Transportation Department.

Follow the jump for the rest of the story.

[Sources: AP, The Detroit News]

To refresh your memory, Lockyer's suit had accused the automakers of harming human health and the environment by producing vehicles that contribute to global warming. Lockyer had sought damages for high levels of pollution because the technology to produce cleaner vehicles exists and is readily available, but the manufactures have chosen to fight instead of producing cleaner vehicles over the years. And according to the original suit, "global warming has already injured California, its environment, its economy and the health and well-being of its citizens."

"The thrust of what we're saying is the technology to produce vehicles that emit far less greenhouse gases exists," Teresa Schilling, a Lockyer spokeswoman said. "They fight any attempt to get them to cut back on their pollution."

The case has drawn a lot of attention for its apparent lack of common sense, seeing as how the carmakers have met current legislation and even California's stricter-than-average regulations over the years. But part of Lockyer's case lies in the fact that automakers are still fighting California over the 2002 law requiring them to cut emissions. That law, spurred by the California Air Resources Board, is designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from cars and light trucks by 25 percent and from sport utility vehicles by 18 percent starting in 2009. That law was copied by 10 other states, but so far none of those other states has followed California's lead on the lawsuit.

Might seem frivolous to some, but to others it is a common sense approach to getting the carmakers to change their ways. If they are fighting the CARB requirements, even though the technology is readily available, how can they not be held responsible for increased pollution? It's surely not the last we'll hear on this issue. We'll keep you posted.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      ----------They filed a 35-page motion to dismiss, and their attorney added the issue should be handled through regulation not litigation.--------- Regulation is done by Government. The Automakers spend millions to lobby the government. We have not had a meaningful increase in MPG since 70's. 30 years ago.

      So do you really think that Automakers will allow the government to REGULATE?

      Look had automakers had done something in 80's a little in 90's and a little in 00's right now they would not be in this hall.

      Look whoever in the next president he will force them to increase MPG, Republican or Democrat. So why fight it, why not ask Bush to increase MPG but do so very slowly as automakers see fit. Use Bush's last to years to increase MPGs slowly........................do not lose another two years on lobbying and litigation.
      • 8 Years Ago
      California is so stupid, the enviromental liberals need to stop this attack on our way of live
      • 8 Years Ago
      Lockyer is a retarded Auto Illiterate fanatic
      • 8 Years Ago
      While it's mostly a PR stunt, making the car companies look bad in the public eye is probably going to be fairly effective at getting them to do something. That's probably the whole point of the suit anyway, since it'd be next to impossible to actually win it.

      Anyways, everyone using China as a comparison really ought to stop, since they're a fast growing country, not an established country. So you'd have to compare their pollution levels to what the US' had during huge growth phases, and then scale it to population. You can't really compare the modern US, with it's clean power plants, against a country that's mostly using coal for power. But you can compare it to our pollution back in the day when we burned coal for all our power and didn't bother to clean it up at all.

      The truth is that it's getting so bad in China now that there's no way they'll be able to keep this level of polluting up, because people are already fleeing the more polluted places. In fact, several finance firms already left Hong Kong just because all the pollution coming over the river from China has made it so bad that everyone's kids kept getting asthma attacks. Since these firms could afford it, they moved to Singapore instead.

      So assuming that China doesn't want companies to all flee, they'll do something about the pollution.

      This doesn't mean that we should just sit around and be proud that ONE other country can compete with us for polluting though, lol. Especially when that country has 4-5x as many citizens.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I do like the irony here. California sues the auto manufacturers "because the technology to produce cleaner vehicles exists and is readily available" but the manufacturers aren't using it. Since the Attorney General is referring to carbon dioxide, the only remedy is to increase fuel efficiency of vehicles. Meanwhile, the governor was the first buyer of a civilian version of the Humvee. What's you mileage Arnie?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I agree that this lawsuit is absurd.
      I also agree that pollution regulation has been lagging.
      Regulation should be the way to curb this problem. Lawmakers should not give into the automakers "demands" and set regulations which are tough if they really want to make a difference. Giving into them and then suing them is interesting route, though.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #2 Teheran is considered to be one of the dirties cities in the world (polution)....yes some of that polution gets to us and others but most of it stays there, most of it goes into their food and water. In China they had to tell people in some cities not to drink water that is not bottled because it is so dirty.

      Yes everyone polutes but most of it is local.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The lawsuit is absurd...

      The pollution is a fact...

      Sadly, we haven't advanced that much in the last 10 years when it comes to clean burning vehicles.

      But taking a cue from Donald Rumsfeld, and look at the 'Panoramic View'.... and look to the west of California and what do you have?

      China and India.... two countries with about 2 Billion people. India uses coal for most of it's power plants, and China is an Oasis of Corporate Communist Capitalism is spewing uncomprehendable amounts of pollution into the atmosphere, and the jet stream of earth eventually makes it possible for it all to make its way over the skies of the USA and Canada.

      • 8 Years Ago
      #4 "Yes everyone polutes but most of it is local."

      Airborne chemicals used in China have been tracked as far away as California.

      In 1998 Airborne dust from a heavy windstorm was tracked and measured in Oregon,Washington,British Columbia and further.

      Tom Cahill, professor of atmospheric science and physics at UC Davis "We're a small world. We're all breathing each other's effluent."

      China's coal-burning power plants and factories emit roughly 60 million tons per year of sulfur oxides, the most in the world and double the U.S. emissions of that pollutant. It's been tracked as far away as Calgargy,Canada.

      Pesticides that have been banned in the United States are part of the fallout from dust blowing off farmland in China, this has been measured here in the US starting in 2002.

      Do a little study on the affects on nuclear testing in Nevada in the 50's and 60's see how far the winds carried it. Then pull up the maps of where it landed and do a correlation of cancer rates in those states.

      While this lawsuit is just silly politics, the fact is we all contribute to pollution and it can affect areas thousands of miles away.

      • 8 Years Ago
      I think Lockyer should next sue the residents of California for buying vehicles produced by the said manufacturers, and for breathing.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yea, the lawsuit sounds like a stunt to get publicity for a run for the governor's office.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, and I still had a tiny, itsy bitsy bit of respect left for California's government.

      They've officially just proven that not only are they incredibly stupid, they are unbelievably stupid.

      Can someone already release this state from the Union already? Really, they shouldn't even be part of this country anymore. Someone also rescue the poor people of California, victimized by their stupid government!

      Oh and get the people who voted for them.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X