Brown: High court ruling on global warming vindicates
California Attorney General Jerry Brown
By Julia Cheever, Bay City News Service
April 2, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - California Attorney General Jerry
Brown said today that this morning's U.S. Supreme Court decision
on greenhouse gases "is a resounding affirmation of California's
actions to address global warming."
Brown, at a news conference in San Francisco, said the ruling
is far-reaching and "makes it very clear that California
has a right to regulate greenhouse gases."
The high court said by a 5-4 vote that the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide
emissions from cars and that states had the right to sue over
The decision was made in a lawsuit led by the state of Massachusetts
and joined by 11 other states, including California, and 13 environmental
and health groups.
The high court did not require the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide
and other pollutants described as greenhouse gases, but said the
agency must consider taking action and can refuse to issue regulations
"only if it provides some reasonable explanation."
Brown said he believes the ruling is framed in such a way that
"there's no way the EPA can ignore" issuing regulations.
This is a very strong opinion," the attorney general said.
Brown said the decision vindicates the state's position in global
warming lawsuits and also clears the way for California to obtain
an EPA waiver to issue state regulations that are stronger than
any federal rules.
The attorney general's office is currently representing California
in four lawsuits pending in federal courts around the nation.
In one lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the state
is suing the world's six largest automakers on a claim that auto
pollution that contributes to climate change is a public nuisance.
In another case in Fresno, automakers are challenging a recent
California law that would limit tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide
and other greenhouse gases beginning in 2009.
Brown said he hopes to confer with automakers and said, "My
goal is not more lawsuits. My goal is to reduce global warming."
Dave McCurdy, president of the Washington D.C.-based Alliance
of Automobile Makers, said the group believes "there needs
to be a national, federal, economy-wide approach to addressing
McCurdy said, "This decision says that the EPA will be part
of the process."
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said, "I am very encouraged
by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today that greenhouse gases
are pollutants and should be regulated by the federal government."
Schwarzenegger said, "We expect the EPA to move quickly
now in granting our request for a waiver, which will allow California
and 13 other states that have adopted our standards to set tougher
vehicle emissions levels.
"And we remain hopeful that the EPA will soon determine,
as California has, that vehicle greenhouse gases must be reduced,"
the governor said.
Carbon dioxide and some other pollutants are known as greenhouse
gases because they trap solar energy in the atmosphere and delay
the escape of reflected heat.
The EPA had argued that its authority under the U.S. Clean Air
Act didn't extend to greenhouse gases and that regulating the
pollutants would conflict with national and international voluntary
programs sponsored by the Bush Administration.
EPA Press Secretary Jennifer Wood said, "EPA is reviewing
the court's decision to determine the appropriate course of action."
Wood said, "The Bush Administration has an unparalleled
financial, international and domestic commitment to reducing greenhouse
The press secretary said, "These national and international
voluntary programs are helping to achieve reductions now while
saving millions of dollars, as well as providing clean, affordable
Howard Fox, a lawyer who represented environmental groups in
the case, said, "In one of the most important environmental
cases of its history, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed what we
have been saying all along: the Clean Air Act gives the EPA the
authority to limit global warming."
Fox urged, "The EPA must act immediately and issue regulations
that limit greenhouse gases from motor vehicles that contribute
to global warming."
The majority opinion was written by Justice John Paul Stevens,
who wrote, "A well documented rise in global temperatures
has coincided with a significant increase in the concentration
of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
"Respected scientists believe the two trends are related,"
The majority concluded, "Because greenhouse gases fit well
within the Clean Air Act's capacious definition of 'air pollutant,'
we hold that EPA has the statutory authority to regulate the emission
of such gases from new motor vehicles."
Chief Justice John Roberts said in a dissent that the majority's
conclusion that the states were entitled to sue "has caused
us to transgress the proper - and properly limited - role of the
courts in a democratic society."
Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication,
Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent
of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.