California threatens to sue EPA over creation of emissions regulations

[JURIST] California Attorney General Jerry Brown [official website] formally notified [letter, PDF; press release] the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] Thursday that the state would file a lawsuit against the agency if it refused to issue rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions from ships, aircraft, industrial and agricultural machinery, and other vehicles. Brown said that California had petitioned the EPA three times seeking a regulatory ruling, but that the EPA had disregarded the requests other than to issue an "Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" (ANPR) [EPA materials] on July 11. The letter notes:

Describing the petitions and soliciting comments does not suffice as a response to petitioners' requests. Moreover, although the ANPR includes various feasible mechanisms for reducing emissions from marine vessels, aircraft and nonroad vehicles and engines, the recommendations are inadequate responses to our petitions. EPA suggests only that these tools are available, but does not recommend that any of the measures be adopted. EPA’s unresponsive actions evade the rendering of a judicially reviewable final action on the petitions simply to avoid accusations of delay. [Citations omitted]
Brown said that if the EPA does not issue greenhouse restrictions within 180 days as required under the Clean Air Act (CAA) [text], California will file a complaint for unreasonable delay. Reuters has more. AP has additional coverage.

Last year the EPA denied a request for a waiver [JURIST report] that would have allowed California and 16 other states to impose stricter greenhouse gas emissions standards on cars and light trucks. That was the first time that the EPA had denied California a waiver since Congress established the state's right to seek CAA waivers in 1967. In January, California filed suit to appeal the denial [JURIST report]. In May, a report by the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found that the White House had influenced the EPA decision [JURIST report]. Last month, the Bush administration refused to turn over requested documents [JURIST report] concerning the decision to the committee, citing executive privilege.

 

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