Automakers must present CO2 emissions data in public, judge says

Automotive News says that despite a request from the auto industry, U.S. District Judge William Sessions of Vermont ruled last week that he is unwilling to allow automakers the chance to present evidence of greenhouse gas emissions in a non-public way during an upcoming trial. Sessions told AN that he is "'troubled by the implication' that he should decide a case that automakers agree is important to the public by using evidence 'they do not want the public to see.'"

The car companies say their evidence needs to be shown in private to protect business secrets and "future product plans." If you're hoping for revealing hints on this front, then Sessions is on your side.

The Burlington Free Press says Sessions reaffirmed his open stance yesterday. Three Vermont auto dealerships, DaimlerChrysler Corp., General Motors Corp. and two trade groups originally brought the lawasuit, which is about whether states or the federal government has the right to regulate emissions. The auto industry says it's up to the feds. Vermont, New York and other groups say the states can make their own rules. The debate was stirred up by California's CO2 limits, about which more below.

The trial was supposed to start last week, but questions over the secrecy of the evidence pushed the start date back to April 9. We'll be watching.

[Source: Automotive News (subs req'd) and the Burlington Free Press]

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