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WA "Clean Car" Law in U.S. Supreme Court's Hands

November 30, 2006

Seattle, WA - Arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court this week will have important implications for Washington and 10 other states that have passed "Clean Car" laws to limit vehicle emissions.

The case, Massachusetts v. EPA, will decide whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should be regulating carbon dioxide emissions under the federal Clean Air Act. The EPA has ruled that greenhouse gases do not fall under its enforcement responsibility.

Washington's "Clean Car" law is set to take effect in 2009, but K.C. Golden with Climate Solutions in Seattle, says the law could be undermined if the Supreme Court agrees with the EPA.

"Not only would the federal government be refusing to act on this urgent problem, but they'd be preventing the states from acting in their own right."

Golden says vehicle emissions make up about half of the global warming pollution in Washington state.

Environmental groups argue the U.S. already has among the world's lowest vehicle emissions standards and that Americans should not be quibbling over the definition of pollution.

"Washington state alone emits 100 million tons a year of carbon dioxide. Call it a pollutant, or call it a pomegranate, but we've got to do something about it."

A decision on the case is expected in January.

A full list of petitioners and related documents for Massachusetts v. EPA can be found online at

Chris Thomas/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WA