Environmental Law

Judge Backs State Emissions Controls

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Vermont’s attempt to regulate greenhouse gases in vehicle emissions is not pre-empted by federal fuel-economy standards, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge William Sessions III of Burlington yesterday rejected an attempt to block the rules, which are modeled on California standards requiring reduced emissions, the Washington Post reports. The rules call for a 30 percent reduction in vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by 2016.

Sessions said Congress gave California the authority to develop its own emissions rules. If the Environmental Protection Agency grants a waiver allowing them to take effect, Vermont’s rules may also be enforced, he said.

Sessions said vehicle manufacturers challenging the rules had not proved they will be unable to comply, the New York Times reports. Nor have the plaintiffs demonstrated that the regulations “will limit consumer choice, create economic hardship for the automobile industry, cause significant job loss or undermine safety.”

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