Blow it out your tailpipe

U.S. District Judge William K. Sessions III dealt a big blow to the auto industry last week when he ruled that regulations established by several states to limit greenhouse-gas emissions from new vehicles do not clash with federal law.

The federal judge’s decision in Vermont will buoy several states’ efforts to implement their own standards for reducing the automobile emissions linked to global warming. Sessions’ ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by several auto manufacturers attempting to block regulations that were first established in California, and later adopted in Vermont and elsewhere.

Passed in 2002, California’s landmark greenhouse-gas law still hinges on the Bush administration’s approval, which is required since the state’s regulations are more stringent than federal standards. Based on Sessions’ precedent-setting ruling, lawyers for an environmental group involved in a similar federal lawsuit in California say they will be filing a motion to dismiss.