National Automobile Dealers Association and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Seek to Overturn EPA Decision

The National Automobile Dealers Association and leaders in the business community have appealed the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision allowing California to set standards for vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.

The appeal, made by the NADA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, petitioned the District of Columbia’s U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the EPA’s decision which allowed California to impose tougher pollution regulations.

The EPA’s decision would allow California to implement a state pollution law, drafted in 2002, that would require more stringent fuel efficiencies for new vehicles by 2016. The law has become the national model for curtailing tailpipe emissions linked to global warming.

Environment organizations have supported the EPA’s decision and claim the appeal is aimed at undermining the Obama administration which is expected to propose a nationwide fuel efficiency standard of 35.5 mpg by 2016 later this month.

Clean Air Watch president Frank O’Donnell said, “It’s very clear that the Chamber of Commerce and the auto dealers hope to flatten the tires of the California car standards.”

California Air Resources Board chairwoman, Mary Nichols, echoed the sentiment. Nichols claims that the NADA and U.S. Chamber of Commerce are pursuing “an outdated course of action designed to obstruct and oppose efforts to move us towards a cleaner environment and greater energy security.” Nichols expects the EPA’s decision to be upheld by the appeals court.

In a statement released by the EPA, the agency claimed its decision had been based on a comprehensive analysis of the science and applicable law. The agency says it is confident its decision “will be found by the courts to be entirely consistent with the law.”

Speaking on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Robin Conrad, executive vice president for the National Chamber Litigation Center claimed there is “simply no legal justification for giving California a waiver authority. Global warming is an international issue, not a local one.”

Conrad claims that the California law “sets a dangerous precedent that could lead to a confusing patchwork of dual environmental regulation down the road.”

The Bush administration had blocked implementation of the law for the past five years by refusing to provide the waiver needed to comply with the federal Clean Air Act. Thirteen other states and the District of Columbia have indicated their desire to impose similar fuel efficiency and emissions standards once the EPA approved the waiver for California.

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