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California to Sue EPA Again, This Time For Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Washington Post reports that California AG Jerry Brown has vowed that his state will sue the Environmental Protection Agency for "wantonly" ignoring its duty to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from ships, aircraft, and construction and agricultural equipment. This is a poster child for "regulation by litigation."

Brown said the lawsuit, to be filed in Washington after the statutorily mandated 180-day waiting period, was meant to force the EPA to exercise its powers under the Clean Air Act in the way that Brown thinks is required. [Funny, though, Brown is not the one who has policy authority in this field....]

The lawsuit follows two similar ones this year by California in conjunction with other states on car and truck emissions and ozone pollution.

Brown said he petitioned the EPA three times to implement the regulations he wishes to see adopted, and was met with a "pathetically weak" response that failed to conclude that greenhouse gases endangered public health.

"(The lawsuit) is certainly typical of the attorney general of California," EPA spokesman Jonathan Shradar said. "If they don't like how we make a decision on something, they sue and hope the courts will mandate toward their position. It works sometimes and sometimes it doesn't work,"

In April, California was one of 18 states to sue the EPA for failing to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new cars and trucks despite a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007 that the agency had the power to do so. [But power is not the same as duty, is it? My state has the power to make the speed limit on highways 25 mph, but I sure hope it doesn't exercise it....] Then In May, California joined 12 other states in suing the EPA, claiming it violated the Clean Air Act by not toughening ozone pollution standards enough.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.