For Immediate Release - October 09, 2009

Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Joins 18-State Coalition to Preserve States' Right to Fight Global Warming

BOSTON - Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley's office joined an 18-state coalition to defend a decision by President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that grants states the right to regulate global warming pollution from automobiles. The coalition is opposing a lawsuit brought by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that seeks to deny individual states the ability to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

"There is no single environmental issue that is more important to us today than climate change," said Attorney General Coakley. "The EPA was right on target when it granted California, and by extension the other states, the right to implement motor vehicle greenhouse gas regulations."

On June 13, 2009, the Obama Administration's EPA granted a Clean Air Act waiver to California, allowing it - and other states such as Massachusetts - to implement to global warming pollution emission standards for cars. This was a reversal of Bush Administration policy. On September 8, NADA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce brought a lawsuit that challenges this waiver from the EPA.

The federal Clean Air Act (CAA) grants California - exclusively among all states - the power to enact its own air pollution standards for cars. The CAA also allows other states to adopt California's standards, but those standards can only take effect if the EPA grants a waiver exempting California from federal regulation. The California standards, adopted in September 2004, would reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from cars by 30% by 2016. Massachusetts adopted California's standards 2005, and at least 17 other states have now either adopted or plan to adopt the California standards.

The coalition has moved to intervene on the EPA's behalf in a challenge to the EPA waiver decision that was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on September 8, 2009. In addition to Massachusetts, the states or state agencies in the coalition are: Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Maryland, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The State of California has also moved to intervene on the EPA's side.

Handling the case for Attorney General Coakley's Environmental Protection Division is Assistant Attorney General Fred Augenstern.