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DOJ urges appeals court to overturn Vermont greenhouse gas emissions decision

[JURIST] The Bush administration has asked the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to set aside a decision [PDF text; JURIST report] by a federal judge sitting in Vermont that allowed Vermont to regulate automotive greenhouse gas emissions. In Green Mountain Plymouth Dodge Jeep v. Crombie, the US District Court for the District of Vermont held that the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) [text] does not preempt state regulation of emission standards. The US Justice Department filed an amicus brief late Wednesday urging the appeals court to overturn the district court's ruling, as it was dependant on a California waiver [JURIST news archive] to reduce vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied [PDF rejection letter; JURIST report] California's waiver request in December. In the Vermont case, the DOJ argued that the Federal Clean Air Act (CAA) [text] preempts state laws in the regulation of fuel and economy.

Vermont's standards require a 30 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2016. The California standards would have required car manufacturers to cut emissions by 25 percent for cars and light trucks, and 18 percent for SUVs, starting with the 2009 model year. California's Air Resources Board [official website] adopted the greenhouse gas standards in 2004 [press release], but it could not mandate them unless the EPA granted a waiver for the lighter CAA standards. California is the only state permitted to seek a waiver under the CAA, and other states would have had the option of choosing between the federal standards and the California standards if the California waiver had been granted. At least 11 states indicated that they would have followed the California standard. AP has more.

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