Is the plaintiffs’ argument valid?
In the Clean Air Act as amended, Congress allowed California, which has serious problems with air quality, to adopt its own standards for emissions from cars and trucks, subject to the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) according to certain standards. The Act also allowed other states to adopt California’s standards after EPA approval.
In 2004, California adopted emissions standards for all new passenger vehicles and light- duty trucks sold in California beginning in 2009. The standards imposed decreasing limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG) through 2016.
While EPA approval was pending, other states adopted the California standards. A group of industry associations, automakers, and new car dealerships filed suit to block state adoption of the standards (including California).
(a) Under the Environmental Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), a designated federal agency sets fuel economy standards for new cars. The plaintiffs argued, among other things, that the EPCA, which explicitly prohibits states from adopting separate fuel economy standards, preempts states from adopting their own emission standards. Is the plaintiffs’ argument valid?Discuss in depth and detail.
(b) Do the state emissions rules impose on the efforts of the federal government to address global warming internationally? Who should regulate GHGs, the states or the federal government? Both? Neither?Discuss in depth and detail.
(c) The plaintiffs also argued that they would go bankrupt if they were forced to adhere to a different GHG standard for each state. Should they be granted relief on this basis? Does history support their claim? Discuss in depth and detail.
Identify and discuss the relevant legal and ethical issues presented