Md. Announces Support of Calif. Lawsuit Requesting EPA Approval to Regulate Auto Emissions

Approval of California's Controls Would Pave the Way for Similar Controls in Maryland

BALTIMORE (November 9, 2007) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler yesterday joined Attorneys General from 13 other states in support of California's efforts to force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action on its request for approval to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles sold in the state. Maryland, as well as over a dozen other states, has adopted California's regulations to combat global warming.

"In an effort to reduce harmful emissions and combat global warming, Maryland lawmakers passed the Clan Cars Act of 2007," said Attorney General Gansler. "We are confident that the automobile industry can meet the more stringent requirements and the result will be cleaner air and reduced pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay. That's why we are pushing for the EPA to act."

The federal Clean Air Act gives California the unique authority to set its own more stringent air pollutant regulations for cars and allows other states, like Maryland, to adopt California's regulations rather than those set by the federal government. However, the federal Clean Air Act requires that the EPA provide California with a waiver before these state regulations can be implemented.

Adopted in August, 2005, California's "Regulation to Control Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Motor Vehicles" requires reductions in fleet-average, greenhouse-gas emissions for most new passenger motor vehicles sold in California, beginning with the 2009 model year.

"The Maryland Clean Cars Act of 2007 requires MDE to adopt California's emissions standards," said MDE Secretary Wilson. "This program is a technologically sound, economically feasible important step we can take now to reduce emissions from cars."

On December 21, 2005, California requested a waiver from the EPA to implement the GHG greenhouse gas regulations. Now, almost two years later, the EPA has failed to act on the request. Arguing that the EPA has "unlawfully withheld and unreasonably delayed" action on its waiver request, the State of California today filed two legal actions against the EPA seeking court orders requiring the EPA to take action on the waiver petition by December 31, 2007.

Since California adopted its GHG greenhouse gas regulations for cars, 14 states including Maryland have either adopted the California regulation or are in the process of adopting it: Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

The State of Maryland expects to have its regulation adopted by the end of December, 2007.

The EPA's delay in acting on California's waiver request has stalled not only the implementation of California's greenhouse gas regulations for cars, but all of the other states' identical regulations. Maryland and the other states cannot enforce these regulations since, under the Clean Air Act, the Agency must first grant a waiver to California's GHG regulation.

While the scientific support for global warming is overwhelming, and its environmental and economic threat is substantial, the Bush Administration has resisted regulatory approaches to controlling greenhouse gases. In April, the US Supreme Court made a landmark ruling against the Administration, deciding that the EPA had the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, as air pollutants. This decision paved the way for states, like California and Maryland, to adopt regulations to control greenhouse gas in pollution from automobiles sold in their states.

The other states joining Maryland in today's action: Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, Illinois, Vermont, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.

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