Carmakers' lawsuit thrown out, judge rules California can regulate tailpipe emissions

Big legal news out of California today. A federal judge has just ruled that the State of California does have the right to regulate vehicles' greenhouse gas emissions. This decision goes against the automakers' wishes. They prefer that the federal government set national standards. Naturally, it is easier for them to build a car that can meet national standards and then be sold anywhere in the U.S.
Here's AP writer Samantha Young:

[The automakers] argued that a federal energy law passed in 1975 gives the U.S. Department of Transportation sole jurisdiction over fuel economy. But [Judge] Ishii rejected that claim, saying Congress gave California and the EPA the authority to regulate vehicle emissions, even if those rules are more strict than those imposed by the federal government.

If this ruling stands, and California get a waiver from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce the state's emissions standards, then the automakers might have to design and build a variety of cars and powerplants to meet each state's standards. In California, the AP reminds us, those standards were set in 2004 and call for a roughly 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2016. The EPA has said it will decide before the end of the year if that waiver will be approved.

I wonder if U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Ishii will now become a bit of a hero to some in the environmental movement, as it was his decision that
California Attorney General Jerry Brown is calling "a major victory and a giant step forward for California." Brown is also involved in the suit that is asking the federal government to limit emissions on oceangoing ships. More news to come on this, without a doubt.

[Source: Samantha Young / Associated Press]

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