California Sues United States Environmental Protection Agency Over Vehicle Standards Waiver Request

On November 8, 2007, the state of California sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its failure to act on the state’s vehicle emissions standards waiver request. In its lawsuit, California argues that the agency should be compelled to issue a decision on the request, which was originally made by the California Air Resources Board in December 2005. California has special authority under the Federal Clean Air Act to set its own vehicle emissions standards that go beyond federal standards, though it must first obtain a waiver from the U.S. EPA. Other states can then choose to follow either California’s regulations or the EPA’s. California’s proposed greenhouse gas emissions standards for motor vehicles would be gradually phased in starting in 2009, and by 2016 would require reductions of tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles of approximately 30 percent. The fourteen other states poised to adopt the California standards will join as interveners in the lawsuit. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger warned the federal government six months earlier that the state would file the suit if the U.S. EPA continued to delay action on the waiver request. The EPA has repeatedly stated that it will reach a decision by the end of 2007.

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Map of States with Greenhouse Gas Vehicle Standards