A federal judge in Vermont today ruled against the U.S. auto industry’s attempt to block California and 14 other states from setting tough new limits on global warming pollution from automobiles.
Our own general counsel Jim Tripp presented arguments in the 16-day trial this spring. He worked closely on the case with state officials from Vermont and New York and several other environmental groups, including the Conservation Law Foundation, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Vermont Public Interest Research Group.
In the ruling, Federal Judge William K. Sessions found that the auto industry had failed to prove that it could not meet the tailpipe standards, that the new standards would endanger drivers or that Congress had forbidden states from setting their own pollution limits.
This ruling comes less than six months after a historic Supreme Court decision in early April that the Environmental Protection Agency has an obligation to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act.
These are huge victories. Today’s ruling not only puts us on solid legal ground for a parallel case in the California courts this summer, but, combined with the Supreme Court’s April decision, adds enormous momentum to our efforts to cap and reduce America’s global warming pollution.
We are still waiting on the EPA to grant California its waiver request under the Clean Air Act to regulate global warming pollution from cars. We filed a notice of intent to sue EPA if they do not rule on the California waiver request by November 2007. And Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) has introduced legislation in Congress to require EPA to grant the waiver.
While we await EPA’s decision, Judge Sessions’s clear and unambiguous ruling today is a huge step forward and sets the stage in our favor for the global warming fights ahead.
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