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For release Friday, February 1, 2008.
Contact Bob Brammer – 515-281-6699.

Iowa Challenges EPA over Rules on Greenhouse Gas Vehicle Emissions

A group of states is seeking to adopt stricter vehicle-emission standards than EPA for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by new motor vehicles.

Iowa and other states are going to court to challenge a ruling by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that rejected the right of states to set tougher emission standards than the EPA’s standards for new vehicles, Attorney General Tom Miller said Friday.

On December 19, 2007, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson rejected California’s request for a “waiver” under the federal Clean Air Act, which would have permitted California to impose tougher regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from new vehicles that contribute to global warming. The Clean Air Act allows California to establish its own vehicle emission standards, but only if it has received the EPA waiver. California asked for the waiver in 2005.

“Here’s why this is so important to Iowa,” Miller said. “Under the Clean Air Act, states can adopt rules tougher than the EPA’s, but only if California is permitted to do so by an EPA waiver. That’s how the federal Clean Air Act is set up -- other states can adopt the standards proposed by California. And that is exactly what is under consideration here in Iowa,” he said.

The recently-created Iowa Office of Energy Independence (OEI) submitted plans in December 2007 to the Governor and General Assembly recommending that Iowa join the states “that have adopted or are considering adopting the California emission standards for passenger vehicles.” ( http://www.energy.iowa.gov/OEI/docs/FINAL_Plan.pdf )

California filed a lawsuit on January 2, 2008, seeking review of the EPA’s refusal to grant the waiver. Since then a total of 18 other states, including Iowa, have filed in support of California’s claim. Iowa and Florida joined on Friday by filing a “Motion for Leave to Intervene as Petitioners” with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in California.

In the Motion, Iowa and Florida said they “recognize that motor vehicles are one of the most significant sources of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Global warming is already seriously and negatively impacting the public health, economies, and environments of [the two states], and its effects are expected to worsen in the absence of effective abatement prompted by immediate governmental action.”

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