The strange bill might be illegal already.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
California global warming bill clouded by multiple lawsuits
By SAMANTHA YOUNG Associated Press Writer
SACRAMENTO, CaliforniaGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday is expected to sign into law the United States' first state cap on greenhouse gas emissions, after striking a deal with legislative Democrats that brought California and the governor global notoriety.
But even before the bill is signed, the law's future is in doubt.
Federal lawsuits related to greenhouse gas issues, involving California, Vermont and Massachusetts, could cloud California's latest attempt to be a leader in the fight against global climate change.
At the heart of California's attempt to curb the gases believed responsible for global warming are state auto regulations that are being challenged by U.S. and foreign automakers. The rules, adopted in 2004 by the state Air Resources Board, would force auto companies to cut emissions from their cars and light trucks.
Rulings favorable to industry would greatly complicate efforts to cut overall emissions in California, knocking out nearly a quarter of the state's reduction strategy. The goal is to reduce emissions to 1990 levels over the next 14 years.
"Reducing greenhouse gases is a hugely difficult challenge," said Daniel Sperling, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. "It's going to be very difficult with the auto regulations. Without them, it's going to be impossible."
Automakers have sued California and Vermont for setting greenhouse gas emission standards on vehicles, saying the rules are tantamount to imposing a fuel-economy standard. Only the federal government can set gas-mileage rules.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts and 11 other states, including California, are challenging the Bush administration's decision not to regulate heat-trapping carbon dioxide as a pollutant. The case is before the U.S. Supreme Court.