Victoria, British Columbia – The province of British Columbia has filed a legal brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals in support of California’s legal challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which denied a waiver to implement the California Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Standard for Vehicles.

“B.C.’s decision to file the legal brief is one more example of our strong working relationship with California,” said B.C. Environment Minister Barry Penner, who participated in a climate change conference last week hosted by California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “In addition to partnering on the California emission standards and the Western Climate Initiative, we’ve also signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to protect Pacific Ocean species from pollution. Higher standards are an important part of B.C.’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent by 2020 through lower emissions from new vehicles, while providing choice and savings for consumers.”

Under the United States Clean Air Act, a waiver from the federal EPA is required where a state wishes to adopt vehicle emission standards. California, which has received over 50 waivers in the past, said that this refusal is unprecedented, which prompted the current legal challenge.

In April 2008, B.C. introduced legislation that allows adoption of California GHG emission standards for vehicles. The California model will achieve greater GHG emission reductions than the proposed U.S. federal fuel economy standards. Canada has committed to the federal standards as a minimum, starting in 2011. B.C. said that based on fuel at $1.00 per litre, the California standard will save consumers an average of $3,600 in fuel costs over the life of a new vehicle.

Seventeen U.S. states have adopted or are in the process of adopting the California model, while six others are actively considering it.  Twelve of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories have committed to the GHG standards, with Quebec now in the process of making final revisions to its draft regulations. The combined states and provinces represent nearly half of all new-car sales in the U.S. and Canada.

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