Vermont Legal Victory over Auto Pollution


A Vermont court has rejected the auto industry's argument that U.S. states did not have the right to set their own auto pollution emission standards:
In his ruling, Judge William K. Sessions III said that the auto industry failed to prove that it could not safely meet the tailpipe standards.

A number of environmental groups joined the State of Vermont in defending the case, including us at Environmental Defense, the Conservation Law Foundation, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. Link.

This case began in 2002 after California requested a waiver from the EPA, thereby allowing the state to tighten the emission standards beyond federal regulations. The EPA's initial response was that they did not have jurisdiction. That argument made its way to the Supreme Court (Massachusetts, et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al. - Docket: 05-1120) , who ruled that it was the EPA's jurisdiction. The EPA has yet to declare where they stand on the tighter emission standards proposed by the following petitioners:

Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, American Samoa Government, New York City, Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Conservation Law Foundation, Environmental Advocates, Environmental Defense, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, International Center for Technology Assessment, National Environmental Trust, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, and U.S. Public Interest Research Group).

Against the following respondents:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, National Automobile Dealers Association, Engine Manufacturers Association, Truck Manufacturers Association, CO2 Litigation Group, Utility Air Regulatory Group, Michigan, Texas, North Dakota, Utah, South Dakota, Alaska, Kansas, Nebraska, and Ohio.

Just so we know where everyone stands.

The auto industry's response to the Supreme Court decision was to file suit in Vermont, California and Rhode Island, objecting to the higher emission standards. It was the Vermont suit that was decided in favor of the petitioners today. A first and important precedent in these very important proceedings that will strengthen the upcoming case in California.
California is still waiting for EPA's ruling on its waiver, and so are 14 other states who have adopted the same emissions requirements. Environmental Defense has filed a notice of intent to sue the EPA if they do not rule on the California waiver request by November 2007. Link.

Here's a link to the Massachusetts decision.

One to the Environmental Defense Lawyer's statement on the winning Vermont case.

And to the news release from Environmental Defense.