Home   Google ARCHIVE SEARCH: Date:

Brown: High court ruling on global warming vindicates California position

California Attorney General Jerry Brown
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

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 issue.

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 greenhouse gases."

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 gas emissions."

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 energy."

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," Stevens wrote.

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.




The Hunger Site

Cooking Classes
in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires B&B

Calitri in southern Italy

L' Aquila in Abruzzo

Health Insurance Quotes


Bruce Brugmann's


Civic Center

Dan Noyes

Greg Dewar

Griper Blade


Malik Looper






MetroWize Urban Guide

Michael Moore

N Judah Chronicles


Robert Solis

SF Bay Guardian





SFWillie's Blog



Sweet Melissa