Central Valley Chrysler-Jeep, Inc. v. Goldstene

Date: December 11th, 2007

Topic: Climate Change Mitigation

Type: Defense of State Rule

Jurisdiction: California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington

Automobile manufacturers filed lawsuit contending that California’s proposed motor vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards were preempted by the exclusive grant of fuel efficiency standard setting granted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) under the EPCA. One key question in this case was whether the standards qualified as “emission standards” under the Clean Air Act (CAA) or “fuel economy standards” under the EPCA. Both the CAA and EPCA contain express preemption provisions which forbid states from adopting more stringent standards than those established by the federal government. However, the CAA contains a provision allowing California to apply for a waiver to establish more stringent emission standards, whereas the EPCA does not provide for any such waiver. The court held that California’s proposed standards were ultimately aimed at reducing emissions and not regulating fuel economy, and thus they were emission standards that were not preempted by the EPCA. The court also noted that a waiver from the EPA under the Clean Air Act gives this regulation a federal stamp-of-approval which insulates it from any preemption concerns.

Citation: Central Valley Chrysler-Jeep, Inc. v. Goldstene, 529 F. Supp.2d 1151 (2007)

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