MARYLAND AND SIX STATES URGE CONGRESS TO INCLUDE
GREENHOUSE GAS LEGISLATION WITH ANY FINANCIAL AID PACKAGE TO U.S.
BALTIMORE, MD (November 21, 2008) – Attorney General Douglas
F. Gansler joined with several other Attorneys General urging Congress
to include greenhouse gas legislation with any relief package as
both houses meet in Washington D.C. this week to decide whether
to give the ailing U.S. automobile industry financial aid.
“In Maryland, our Clean Cars Act recognizes that cleaner,
more fuel-efficient cars are one way we can protect our environment
and our Chesapeake Bay. The domestic auto manufacturers must change
their ways,” said Gansler. “Requiring them to produce
cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars is key to their future success
and must be part of any financial package,” he added.
The letter, which is
addressed to Speaker of the House Pelosi and Senate Majority
Leader Reid, asserts that “if the U.S.
auto industry is serious about taking millions in aid from our
pockets, it must show us that it too is serious about global warming
and taking a leading (and therefore profitable) role as a producer
of fuel-efficient and carbon-sensitive vehicles.” It requests
that any legislation giving financial support to the auto industry
be dependent upon a commitment by the auto manufacturers to drop
their opposition to California’s greenhouse gas emission
standards for new motor vehicles. It also urges Congress to include
legislation to remove any doubt that California’s standards
are enforceable if it takes up any short- or long-term financial
aid for the automobile industry.
The Clean Car Act requires
Maryland to adopt standards similar to California’s stricter standards and was signed into law
by Governor Martin O’Malley in 2007. The standards adopted
by the Maryland Department of the Environment become effective
in Maryland for new passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty
vehicles beginning in model year 2011, significantly reducing emissions
including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides
(NOx), two of the leading causes of Maryland’s ozone problems.
The Clean Cars Act will also allow for regulation of carbon dioxide
(CO2) emissions in Maryland if California is granted a waiver by
the EPA to officially adopt GHG emissions standards.
Under the federal Clean
Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must
grant a waiver to California for its standards
in order for Maryland’s and other states’ standards
to be effective. EPA denied the waiver in December of 2007, but
that decision is under appeal.
On September 12, 2007,
Chief Judge William K. Sessions III rejected the auto industry
plaintiffs’ claim that the emission standards
are actually fuel economy standards that conflict with the federal
Energy Policy and Conservation Act. He also ruled that the GHG
emission standards do not interfere with the foreign policy powers
of the President or Congress. The auto industry has appealed the
decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in
New York. On December 12, 2007, a federal court in California issued
a similar ruling upholding California’s regulations and that
decision is under appeal as well.
Maryland joined with Vermont, California, Massachusetts, Rhode
Island, Connecticut, and Oregon to send the letter to Congress.