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12 states appeal emissions decision

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  • npat1
    Fw: [fuelcell-energy] ... ENVIRONMENT 12 states appeal emissions decision Challenge to EPA refusal to regulate greenhouse gases - Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4, 2006
      Fw: [fuelcell-energy]
      ---------- Forwarded Message ----------
      ENVIRONMENT
      12 states appeal emissions decision
      Challenge to EPA refusal to regulate greenhouse gases
      - Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
      Saturday, March 4, 2006

      California and 11 other states asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday
      to review the Bush administration's refusal to regulate motor vehicle
      emissions of gases that scientists blame for global warming.

      The states were joined by the cities of New York, Baltimore and
      Washington, D.C., the island of American Samoa and numerous
      environmental groups in appealing a federal court ruling last year
      that upheld the Environmental Protection Agency's decision not to
      regulate so-called greenhouse gases.

      The case could affect another lawsuit in which auto manufacturers and
      dealers are challenging a California law, the first of its kind, that
      requires reduced greenhouse-gas emissions in new vehicles sold in the
      state, beginning with 2009 models. The suit is scheduled for trial in
      Fresno in January.

      "Global warming is one of the biggest threats facing the planet, and
      we cannot delay action,'' California Attorney General Bill Lockyer
      said in a statement. "Left unchecked, it can cause devastation to our
      economy, public health (and) natural resources. It is time for the
      Environmental Protection Agency to step up and fulfill its
      responsibility to fight this problem.''

      The EPA, in a September 2003 decision, said it had no authority to
      regulate carbon dioxide and three other gases emitted from vehicles
      that scientists generally say are contributors to climate change.
      Even if it had the authority, the EPA said, it was not convinced that
      scientific evidence showed the gases endangered public health or
      welfare.

      The agency's position was consistent with President Bush's assertion
      that mandatory limits on greenhouse gases would needlessly damage the
      U.S. economy. Bush has rejected the Kyoto Protocol, an international
      treaty placing mandatory limits on greenhouse gases, and instead has
      called for voluntary reductions.

      The EPA decision, supported by industry groups and some Midwestern
      states, was upheld in July in a 2-1 ruling of the U.S. Court of
      Appeals in Washington, D.C. The court did not decide whether the
      agency was authorized to regulate greenhouse gases, but rejected
      arguments by California and other states that regulation was required
      by law.

      In Friday's Supreme Court appeal, supporters of emission regulation --
      led by Massachusetts -- accused the EPA of ignoring scientific
      evidence, rewriting the Clean Air Act and endangering future
      generations.

      "Given that air pollutants associated with climate change are
      accumulating in the atmosphere at an alarming rate, the window of
      opportunity in which we can mitigate the dangers posed by climate
      change is rapidly closing,'' said Massachusetts Attorney General
      Thomas Reilly.

      The outcome of the case could affect the California law on greenhouse-
      gas emissions because the state needs a waiver from the EPA to
      enforce a law that is more stringent than federal air pollution law,
      said Teresa Schilling, a spokeswoman for Lockyer.

      If the Supreme Court rules that the EPA must regulate greenhouse
      gases, the state would expect a routine waiver to enforce its law,
      Schilling said. She said a ruling in favor of the EPA could make a
      waiver more difficult to obtain and might also strengthen the auto
      industry's challenge to the law.

      E-mail Bob Egelko at begelko@....

      Page B - 1
      URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?
      file=/c/a/2006/03/04/BAGVIHIKD91.DTL
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