DEEP: Governor Rell, AG Blumenthal Intervene In Case Against EPA To Fight Global Warming

January 2, 2008

Governor Rell, AG Blumenthal Intervene
in Case Against EPA to Fight Global Warming

Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to uphold state rights to regulate greenhouse gas pollution from automobiles.

Connecticut is one of 15 states joining the lawsuit, which was brought by California. The federal Clean Air Act grants California authority – exclusively among all states – to enact its own air pollution standards for cars. The Clean Air Act also allows the other states to adopt California’s standards, but only after the EPA grants a waiver exempting California from the weaker federal regulation.

On Dec. 19, 2007, the EPA denied California’s waiver request, blocking California and the other states from implementing greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars.

"The EPA has become a roadblock to states that want to pass tougher clean air standards," Governor Rell said. "This is truly a shame and a disgrace. They are not serving the people or the health of the public by preventing states from improving their environments. I am pleased to direct Connecticut to join California in fighting this painfully short-sighted decision, which not only marks the first time in 30 years that the EPA has rejected a waiver request but runs counter to recommendations from the agency’s own technical and legal advisors.

"Connecticut, California and numerous other states could be moving ahead with greenhouse gas emissions standards today, were it not for the EPA’s intransigence," the Governor said. "This is an issue that should have been decided by regulators months ago and will now be unnecessarily delayed further by appeals of the EPA’s arbitrary and inexplicable decision."

Blumenthal said, "This administration is running on empty legally and morally. The EPA’s New Year’s resolution should be Face the Truth. Do your job or get out of the way, is what we say to the EPA. We will not accept no as an answer from do-nothing federal environmental officials when our public health and planet’s future are at stake. Top EPA officials are blocking responsible state steps against intolerable auto pollution, adding insult to injury and defying the law, common sense, science and their own staff.

Blumenthal added, "The EPA’s excuse for blocking a waiver – that there should be a national standard, not a state by state regulation – ignores clear reality: The regulations adopted by these states would be effectively a national standard immediately covering more than half all cars sold nationally. Our state standard is necessary to protect our citizens from greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming and serious public health problems. The EPA is in a state of denial – forcing this lawsuit to recognize our rights as states, and the real harms of air pollution and global warming."

Connecticut has already adopted California’s standards, which would reduce greenhouse gases from cars by 30 percent by 2016. At least 17 other states have either adopted or plan to adopt the California standards.

Today’s lawsuit, which seeks to reverse the EPA decision, was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Also joining California’s action are Massachusetts, Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.