Swanson sues EPA over tailpipe emissions

Cars: Good design or bad?
Minnesota and 16 other states are suing the EPA, saying states should be able to set stricter vehicle emission standards than the federal government has in place.
MPR Photo/Marianne Combs

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson says she is joining a coalition of 16 other states in suing the Environmental Protection Agency to preserve states' ability to regulate vehicle emissions.

The lawsuit was filed in response to the EPA's decision in December 2007 to deny California's request to set higher tailpipe emissions standards than the federal government.

The California standards would reduce vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2016.

"I would like to see the federal government take a leadership role in addressing global warming. In the absence of leadership at the federal level, we need to show good stewardship at the state level," Swanson said in a statement.

California contends it can obtain a waiver from the federal government in order to set its own vehicle emissions standards. Other states can then adopt the California standards rather than the federal regulations.

Thirteen of the 15 states joining the lawsuit have already adopted, or are in the process of adopting, the California standards. Minnesota has not done so. Swanson said she filed the petition in order to preserve the state's ability to adopt the standards.

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