From: Timothy Gardner, Reuters
Published March 6, 2006 12:00 AM

States Appeal to U.S. Top Court on CO2 Car Emissions

NEW YORK — A dozen U.S. states appealed to the Supreme Court Friday on a case that seeks to force the U.S. government to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks, an environmental group said.

The states, three cities including New York, and several green groups had sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to regulate the car emissions most scientists link to global warming.

Last August the full bench of the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., the nation's second-highest court, denied a request to hear the case in a 4 to 3 decision.

Earlier, that court had ruled 2 to 1 that the U.S. government does not have to regulate carbon dioxide emissions spewed from cars and trucks.

The court did not decide central questions on whether EPA has the authority to regulate global warming pollution, or the agency's claim that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.

The EPA had said in 2003 that global warming has risks, but it could not regulate greenhouse gas emissions because Congress had not granted it authority to do so under the federal Clean Air Act.

Friday's petition claims the EPA unjustifiably concluded that the Clean Air Act does not provide it authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, according to John Stanton, Vice President for the National Environmental Trust.

The petition says a review by the Supreme Court "is necessary to prevent the (EPA) from continuing to claim that a decision of this Court prevents it from taking regulatory action to address climate change," according to Stanton.

Passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs account for 20 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, with power plants responsible for 40 percent.

Environmental groups said the court's decision allows states such as California to formulate their own policies for controlling CO2 from vehicles.

California and New York have proposed rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

Automobile manufacturers oppose any rules to cut CO2 emissions, claiming they would make cars smaller, lighter and less powerful, which they say, would strip cars of attributes consumers demand.

President George W. Bush pulled the United States from the international Kyoto Protocol that aims to reduce global warming emissions mostly among industrialized countries, saying the treaty would hurt the U.S. economy. He favors voluntary methods of cutting emissions.

The EPA said this week U.S. greenhouse emissions rose 1.7 percent in 2004, a higher rate than during each of the previous two years.

Source: Reuters

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