Sacbee in the Hot House

Here's a fairly new and much needed blog called the Hot House started up by Stuart Leavenworth at the Sacramento Bee.

Stuart will be covering the ins and outs of the State of California's efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. I hope that Leavenworth will be keeping an especially close eye on the lawsuit by the auto industry against the state of California that has effectively delayed action on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions for the better part of 5 years now.

For those readers not familiar with the case. Here's a basic rundown:

2004 - Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) and local California dealers file suit against the State of California to block new greenhouse gas emissions standards for new vehicles.

The AAM is an industry association comprised of all the big auto manufacturers including Toyota, Ford Motor Company, Mitsubishi and General Motors.

Here's the original complaint. (pdf)

March 2005 - The environmental groups, NRDC, Sierra Club and Environmental Defense, file for intervenor status.

March 2005 - The Association of International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM) applies for intervenor status. The AIAM represents pretty much every auto manufacturer that was not already represented by the AAM (with some overlapping membership).

January 2007 - Judge postpones trial pending the outcome of the US Supreme Court decision on whether the Environmental Protection Agency has the jurisdiction to regulate greenhouse gas under the EPA's mandate.

It is this question that lies at the heart of the Automakers versus the State of California. Under the original complaint filed, the Automakers claim the greenhouse gas is not considered a toxic substance and cannot therefore be subject to regulation. This is seen by many as the reason for the Competitive Enterprise Institute's “C02 is good for you” ad campaign in the Spring of 2006.

April 2007 - US Supreme Court rules that the EPA can regulate greenhouse gas.

Here's the ruling.(pdf)

And this is where the lawsuit stands. The same thing is playing out in other states where similar legislation is being fought by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, including the states of New York, Rhode Island, Oregon, Maine and Vermont.

Check out the Clean Cars Campaign's site for all the original court documents. The site is organized by a host of NGO's interested in seeing this lawsuit defeated.