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Environmental Law

Calif. to Sue EPA for Blocking State’s Tough Emissions Standards

Posted Dec 21, 2007 11:15 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The state of California plans to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for rejecting its plan to implement tougher air quality standards for cars and trucks.

Aides to California Attorney General Jerry Brown confirmed the state will file suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, where challenges to EPA decisions are required to be filed, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Under federal law, California may require tougher restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions than mandated by U.S. standards, as long as it gets a waiver from the EPA. The agency refused to grant the waiver, issuing its decision Wednesday after Congress passed a law requiring more fuel-efficient vehicles by 2020.

Washington and Oregon have announced they will join the suit, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said at a news conference yesterday that the EPA is being obstructionist.

"The states are laboratories," Gregoire said at a news conference. "We still have states' rights in this country. Particularly where there isn't federal leadership, we ought to be allowed to move forward and lead."

Mary Nichols, the chair of the California board that writes air pollution regulations, told the New York Times the state may also consider alternatives to tougher fuel emissions standards, such as fines or penalties for car manufacturers that don’t meet state requirements.

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