This post is by Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense.
A federal judge in California today rebuked the auto industry's attempt to block California and 16 other states from setting tough new limits on global warming pollution from automobiles, calling these efforts "the very definition of folly."
Environmental Defense was a defendant-intervener in the case. We worked closely with California state officials and several other environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Blue Water Network, Global Exchange, and Rainforest Action Network.
In the ruling, Federal District Court Judge Anthony Ishii rejected the auto industry's claim that federal fuel economy standards preempted the authority of California and other states to limit global warming pollution from automobiles.
This ruling comes three months to the day after a similar ruling by a federal judge in Vermont, and just eight months after the historic Supreme Court decision in early April that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an obligation to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act.
These are huge victories. Today's ruling shifts the focus to the EPA where a decision on whether to grant California's waiver request to tighten auto emission standards has been pending for two years.
I have just issued a press statement calling on EPA Administrator Steve Johnson to "immediately grant California's request to move ahead with this program. All similar California air pollution requests have been approved. Not one has been turned down in EPA history."
In his ruling, Judge Ishii alluded to the importance of EPA granting the waiver. He wrote:
"Given the level of impairment of human health and welfare that current climate science indicates may occur if human-generated greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, it would be the very definition of folly if EPA were precluded from action."
Environmental Defense played a big role in these historic court rulings. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to our General Counsel Jim Tripp and our Regional Director of our Climate and Air Program Jim Marston, who worked so hard on this case.
As we look ahead to the new year and the need for a national, economy-wide cap on global warming pollution, please join me in celebrating today's terrific news. We are making progress!