Schwarzenegger sues over EPA stall on vehicle pollution standards
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, with state Attorney General Jerry Brown at his side, made good on a six-month-old promise Thursday, announcing the state is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to end delays over federal approval of state proposed vehicle emission standards.
California officials first asked the EPA in 2005 for a waiver to enforce a 2002 state law setting strict vehicle emissions standards for new cars.
The state is able to enforce regulations tougher than the federal standards due to its unique standing as having laws on the book regarding emissions before the federal Clean Air Act was passed. However, California must receive the waiver from Washington to enact the new rules. The EPA has yet to act on the 2005 request, despite numerous attempts by Sacramento officials to move the process along.
In a terse letter to the EPA earlier this year, Schwarzenegger threatened to sue if the agency did not move forward with the waiver approval. EPA chief Stephen Johnson has said the agency will rule on the waiver before the end of the year.
California's 2002 law calls for a 30 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles by 2016. More than a dozen states also joined in the suit Thursday, citing their own similar legislation that cannot move forward until California's law is adopted.
Schwarzenegger said he hopes the lawsuit moves the process forward. However, the governor made it clear that further EPA inaction or a denial of the state's request for a waiver would prompt further litigation.
“We’re going to sue again and sue again and sue again until we get it,” Schwarzenegger said.