California Attorney General Threatens EPA with Lawsuit

Posted on October 24, 2007 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California attorney general said Monday that he would sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in an attempt to force it to decide whether to let California and 11 other states impose stricter standards on certain vehicle emissions.

The lawsuit, expected to be filed this week in federal court in Washington, D.C., comes 22 months after California first asked the EPA to let the state impose tougher regulations on emissions of greenhouse gases from cars, pickup trucks, and sports utility vehicles.

California wants to implement a 2002 state law that would require automakers to begin making vehicles that emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions by model year 2009. It would cut emissions by about a quarter by the year 2030. But the law can take effect only if the EPA grants the state a waiver under the Clean Air Act.

"Unfortunately, the Bush administration has really had their head in the sand," Attorney General Jerry Brown said. "In this case, there has been an unreasonable delay."

The EPA held hearings this summer on California's waiver request, and administrator Steven Johnson told Congress he would make a decision by the end of the year. The schedule has not changed, EPA spokeswoman Jennifer Wood said Monday.

The agency is also crafting national standards that it will propose by the end of the year, Wood said.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in April warned the EPA he would sue if the agency failed to act on the waiver within six months. That deadline was Tuesday.

"We feel like it's a reasonable request," Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said. "They've delayed for a long time, and it's time to take action."

Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Washington also plan to join California's lawsuit against the EPA, officials in those states said.


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