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For Immediate Release, November 8, 2007

Contact: Brian Nowicki, (916) 201-6938,

Center Joins California’s Lawsuit to Reduce Vehicle Greenhouse Gases;
EPA Stalling on California Law to Toughen Vehicle Emissions Standards

WASHINGTON, DC– The Center for Biological Diversity moved to intervene in California’s lawsuit against the Bush administration over greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. The lawsuit, filed by the state of California, charges the federal Environmental Protection Agency with unreasonable delay in making a determination on California’s law to limit vehicle greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

To combat global warming, California adopted tougher emission laws in 2004, and Oregon and Washington adopted the limits in 2005. California sought a waiver from EPA to implement its own tighter regulations, as is required under the Clean Air Act, in December 2005. Nearly two years later, EPA has failed to act on California’s request.

According to Western Environmental Law Center attorney Dan Galpern, who filed the intervention motion: “While the Bush administration highlights and lauds state climate change initiatives — in order to deflect international criticism of its own failure to adopt binding national limits — the EPA thwarts the most significant state measure. This unlawful delay, compounded by hypocrisy, is exceptionally lethal in that it presses the climate system toward a tipping point beyond which there is virtually no return.”

“Not only polar bears, but thousands of other species — including many in West Coast states — are headed toward extinction, and further delay ensures only catastrophe,” said Kassie Siegel, climate, air, and energy program director for the Center for Biological Diversity.

The intervention motion, filed by the Western Environmental Law Center on behalf of eight conservation organizations, states that the denial of the waiver holds up not only California, but also other states that adopted the same tailpipe greenhouse gas limits, impairing their efforts to reduce global warming.

Today 13 states, in addition to Oregon and Washington, are poised to adopt California’s emission reduction program: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. If the states’ programs are allowed to go into effect, by 2016, greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and light trucks will be cut by a third. If EPA continues to obstruct states’ efforts until the end of the Bush administration, the greenhouse gas emission reduction could be delayed until 2011 model year vehicles are in place.

In California, continuation of present trends likely will lead to a loss of up to 90 percent of Sierra snowpack during the next century, seawater intrusion into the state’s delta and levee systems, and forest fires of increasing intensity and frequency.

The Western Environmental Law Center is representing, in this action, Washington Environmental Council, Climate Solutions, Environment Washington, Oregon Wild, Environment Oregon, 3EStrategies, Angus Duncan, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Friends of the Earth. Numerous states are also intervening in the suit.


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