DETROIT (Oct. 10, 2006) — The auto industry continues to wage a battle to keep California from imposing strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions from the vehicles sold there.
A federal judge recently agreed to let the industry's case against the state's landmark greenhouse gas rules go to trial early next year.
State officials had asked that the challenge to the rules, adopted in 2004, be thrown out.
Judge Anthony Ishii of U.S. District Court ruled that a trial is needed to consider industry arguments that federal laws and the nation's foreign policy pre-empt the state regulations.
In a loss for the industry, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law that requires reductions in the emissions thought to cause global warming.
The new law is aimed mainly at utilities and factories. But it includes a provision that directs state regulators to find new ways to achieve the emissions cuts from motor vehicles if the industry lawsuit against the 2004 rules succeeds.
The regulations require auto makers to cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 30 percent over the next decade. They would achieve that goal mostly by installing fuel-saving technologies on cars and trucks.
The industry argues that the rules are a veiled attempt by California to regulate fuel economy.
Only the federal government has that authority, industry officials contend.
The main target of California's efforts is carbon dioxide, a naturally occurring part of the atmosphere but also a byproduct of burning fuel. Excess accumulation of the gas in the atmosphere is thought to trap heat, leading to potentially catastrophic disruption of the global climate.