June 15, 2007

California notifies EPA that it will file a lawsuit against the federal government

Sacramento, California – California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the state will file a lawsuit against the federal government, six months and one day after the required notice was originally sent on April 26, 2007. The lawsuit stems from a waiver that the EPA is stalling, which would allow California the right to set its own vehicle emissions standards, and for other states to adopt California’s standards.

Last Friday, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson indicated to the U.S. House of Representatives Special Committee on Global Warming that he will wait until late next year to decide on whether to issue regulations controlling emissions from vehicles. By announcing that the EPA intends not to act on California’s waiver until next year, it is preventing California and other states from taking action to reduce greenhouse gases. Eleven other states have adopted the California standards as their own, and six more are now in the process; the group of states makes up about one-third of all U.S. auto sales.

Under the Federal Clean Air Act, California has the right to set its own standards, and other states the right to adopt them, upon receipt of a waiver from the EPA. The EPA is obligated to provide California a waiver unless certain conditions are not met. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) requested a waiver on December 21, 2005. In letters sent in April and October of 2006 to President George Bush, Schwarzenegger reiterated the urgency of approving California’s request to address global warming.

In his letter to Stephen Johnson, Schwarzenegger indicated that if the EPA does not act on the state’s waiver request by October 22, 2007, the ARB will file a lawsuit.

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