Court upholds California law limiting vehicle GHG emissions

Court upholds California law limiting vehicle GHG emissions

For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Danielle Fugere, 415-577-5594
Nick Berning, 202-222-0748

Federal court in Vermont rules that automakers must comply with ‘Pavley standard’ adopted by California and 14 other states; Vermont ruling may foreshadow what’s to come from federal court in California

A federal district court in Vermont ruled this morning that automakers must comply with a state law that limits automobile greenhouse gas emissions. Today’s ruling comes after a U.S. Supreme Court decision this spring held that greenhouse gas pollution from vehicles can be regulated under the Clean Air Act. This ruling foreshadows what’s likely to come in an almost identical lawsuit being heard in California, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

In today’s ruling, the court held that California’s law is not preempted by federal standards. The court held that California and other states may legally adopt regulations reducing greenhouse gas pollution from cars, despite the fact that such regulations may have the effect of increasing fuel economy. The court also found that the automakers have the technological ability to comply.

Friends of the Earth’s Danielle Fugere, who is a counsel in defense of the law in the California case, reacted with the following statement:

“Today’s ruling is a major victory in the fight against global warming. What we’re seeing is an affirmation that if the federal government won’t act on global warming, the states will take action and they have the legal authority to do so.

“Automakers should buckle up and start reducing greenhouse gas pollution from cars, something that is critically necessary and long overdue. It’s the right thing to do — and as today’s ruling makes clear, it’s also the law. Today’s ruling foreshadows the likely outcome of an almost identical challenge that is still pending in federal court in California. There is no reason to believe that California’s courts will rule any differently, especially after the Supreme Court recently held that greenhouse gas emissions from cars is subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act.”