By Samantha Young
The Seattle Times
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California sued the federal government Thursday to force a decision about whether the state can impose the nation’s first greenhouse-gas emission standards for cars and light trucks.
Washington and more than a dozen other states are poised to follow California’s lead if it is granted the waiver from federal law, presenting a challenge to automakers who would have to adapt to a patchwork of regulations.
The state’s lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., was expected after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vowed last spring to take legal action.
“Our future depends on us taking action on global warming right now,” Schwarzenegger said Thursday. “There’s no legal basis for Washington to stand in our way.”
At issue is California’s nearly two-year-old request for a waiver under the federal Clean Air Act allowing it to implement a 2002 state anti-pollution law regulating greenhouse gases.
Eleven other states, including Washington, have adopted California’s standard as a way to combat global warming and five others are considering it.
Schwarzenegger and other state officials say implementing the law is crucial for California’s ability to meet the provisions of a separate global-warming law that passed last year. That law seeks to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions statewide 25 percent by 2020.