The new CAFE legislation contains a provision to keep individual states from coming up with their own standards. California applied to the EPA for a waiver to enforce its own stricter emissions standards. When the EPA administrator, Stephen Johnson, planned to deny that waiver, Johnson's in-house team told him he could expect states to sue the EPA. He did it anyway. And now sixteen states and five environmental groups are suing the Environmental Protection Agency.

The legal charge is being led by California, which has never been denied a waver before, and can't understand why it's being denied now (cue: conspiracy theories). Johnson said the EPA's own rules will do more to prevent global warming than the stricter standards California wants to adopt. Jerry Brown, California's Attorney General, called the EPA's action "shocking in its incoherence and utter failure to provide legal justification for the administrator's unprecedented action."

The Golden State is being joined by Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington in the lawsuit. The auto industry, which spent a lot of time, money and manpower to keep states from being able to choose individual standards, will be watching this closely. If California wins, though, it doesn't appear the industry will have any recourse but to lift its game that much further... and charge consumers for it.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]


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