Florida and Iowa Join EPA Lawsuit; California Seeks to Expedite Hearing

Posted by Warming Law Mon, 04 Feb 2008 19:05:00 GMT

Last week, California’s lawsuit to overturn EPA’s waiver decision continued to gain support despite the automobile industry’s best efforts to prevent more states from stepping up to the plate on global warming emissions. While this preemptive lobbying campaign did temporarily stop a California legislative proposal to limit emissions through a “feebate” program, it has failed to convince states to hold back on supporting the Pavley clean cars program. Late Friday, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the state of Iowa joined the lawsuit, filing a 24-page motion to intervene in the case:

The motion presented by Iowa and Florida on Friday stated that the two states "recognize that motor vehicles are one of the most significant sources of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Global warming is already seriously and negatively impacting the public health, economies, and environments of (the two states), and its effects are expected to worsen in the absence of effective abatement prompted by immediate governmental action.”

The Iowa Office of Energy Independence recommended in December that Iowa join with other states considering the adoption of California’s vehicle emissions standards.

Warming Law has written previously just how important it is that states that haven’t yet moved to adopt the California standards are getting involved here, and its likewise critical that states in the process of enacting regulations – such as Florida and Arizona—are still moving forward in every way that they can. It does, however, continue to bear highlighting that Florida’s environmental regulators had to bring its case rather than the state itself, a likely product of state AG Bill McCollum’s well-documented climate-change skepticism.

Meanwhile, the automobile industry has now formally acted on its support for EPA’s decision, as the Association of Automobile Manufacturers and the National Automobile Dealers Association have requested leave to intervene in its defense. On the flip side, the South Coast Air Quality Management District—the regulatory board in charge of overseeing Southern California’s heavily polluted air—the Washington Environmental Council, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation were among additional petitioners seeking to intervene on California’s behalf.

Also last week, the state filed a motion to expedite the 9th Circuit’s hearing of the case. Warming Law is working to obtain the motion and we’ll have more analysis thereafter, but this is definitely not an unexpected move. The current briefing schedule drags out initial filings over the next few months, and California, which would like to start implementing its regulations in early 2009, has always indicated that it would like to see legal proceedings speed up. A lack of judicial haste, or possible delaying tactics by EPA that might include efforts to have the case moved or dismissed, would likely increase pressure on Congress to intervene.

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