Positive Environment News

US Court Upholds Tough Vermont Auto Emissions Law

Date: 13-Sep-07
Country: US
Author: Scott Malone

In his decision, Judge William K. Sessions found that the
Vermont law -- which regulates greenhouse gas emissions -- did
not conflict with federal regulations on fuel economy.

"The plaintiffs failed to prove the regulations were
preempted," Sessions wrote in his decision.

Automakers General Motors Corp and DaimlerChrysler AG --
which has since sold its Chrysler unit -- sued in 2005 to block
the law, arguing that states do not have the authority to
regulate the amount of CO2 released by cars, which is closely
related to fuel economy.

"It makes sense that only the federal government can
regulate fuel economy," said Dave McCurdy, president and chief
executive of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, in a
statement. "The Alliance will continue studying the decision
and considering the options, including an appeal."

The Alliance represents nine major auto manufacturers,
including the largest players in the US market --- GM, Toyota
Motor Co , Ford Motor Co and Chrysler.

Vermont officials were not immediately available for
comment.

Vermont is one of nearly a dozen states that followed
California's lead in adopting the strict standard, which is
tougher than federal rules and is intended to reduce the rise
in global temperatures and changing weather patterns associated
with greenhouse gas emissions.

The automakers argued that they could not meet the new
standards, and in court testimony said they would have to pull
out of the state as a result.

California, which is allowed under federal clean air laws
to adopt its own standards on auto emissions, first developed
the new guidelines, which call for a 30 percent reduction in
carbon dioxide emissions by cars and light trucks, starting
with 2009 models.

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York,
Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington have also adopted the
rule.

Automakers have also sued California and Rhode Island,
though the Vermont case was first to go to trial. The
month-long trial wrapped up in May.

Reuters
© Thomson Reuters 2007 All rights reserved

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