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General Motors Ruled Against in their Attempt to block Vermont’s New Automobile Emissions Rules

09/14/2007
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In the first case of its kind challenging a state’s rights to regulate pollutants, General Motors and other carmakers lost their attempt to use Federal preemption laws to avoid complying with new vehicle emissions standards in Vermont.U.S. District Judge William Sessions ruled against the automobile manufacturers when ruling that the carmakers cannot block new carbon-reduction rules in Vermont (which mirror those adopted in California).

Despite the industries’ cries of higher prices, layoffs and an inability to comply with the proposed higher standards, Judge Sessions apparently bought none of the automobile manufacturer’s arguments. The court remains unconvinced automakers cannot meet the challenges of Vermont and California’s [regulations],” Sessions said in his ruling.

Al Gore, has been, of late, the voice and energy behind the push to recognize the world-wide damage caused by global warming, greenhouse gases and automotive and manufacturing emissions, particularly in his lectures world-wide about the danger to the planet and in promoting his movie, An Inconvenient Truth. California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger along with the governors from 12 other states, sent a letter earlier this week to all of the major automobile manufacturers, urging them to drop their legal challenges to the state laws. The decision, if upheld, will assist these states, including California, Vermont, New York and Massachusetts to regulate automotive gas emissions which have been linked to global warming. Schwarnenegger has threatened to sue the Environmental Protection Agency if they fail to grant California’s request. Of note, if California’s requiest for waiver is not granted, the Vermont ruling would fail.

These actions by state governors and their legislative counterparts fly in the face of President Bush and the federal government’s failure to recognize the crisis at hand. As recently as last month, the Bush Administration had to be ordered to comply with a requirement to provide a national global warming report, first due in 2004, yet never written.

Let’s hope this ruling is just one step in the push to make safer, more efficient automobiles which will result in lessening the impact on the world’s environment, something all of us should agree is a worthy goal.

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