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Published October 20, 2007 04:16 PM

California To Sue EPA next week on Carmaker Emissions Waiver

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California will sue the Environmental Protection Agency next week in the state's bid to crack down on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, a spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Saturday.

California will file a lawsuit against the EPA demanding the right to set its own limits on vehicle emissions that are stricter than national standards, spokesman Aaron McLear said.

California, which has become a leader on environmental issues in the United States, passed a state law in 2005 that would require new vehicles to meet progressively tighter standards for greenhouse gas emissions starting with 2009 models.

But the state needs a waiver from the federal government to implement the law and says it has run out of patience awaiting it. Schwarzenegger set an October 22 deadline six months ago for a decision and threatened to sue if the EPA failed to act by then.

"It is almost two years since we asked for this waiver. The governor feels we have been patient enough. He has met with the EPA administrator and with the president on this and has sent letters to them both. We have done everything we can and now it is time for action," McLear said.

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The EPA said earlier this month it expected to make a decision on California's request by the end of 2007.

Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has said repeatedly that the government is moving too slowly on climate change issues and that states like California must lead the way.

U.S. automakers are fighting California's plans in the courts. In a separate case, a U.S. federal judge last month threw out a California lawsuit that had sought for the first time to hold vehicle manufacturers responsible for damages caused by climate-changing greenhouse gases.

Last year, California passed the most far-reaching greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the United States, saying it would cut global warming gases to 1990 levels by 2020 -- or by 25 percent from current levels.

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