I haven’t read the underlying decision, nor am I familiar with the case. Nevertheless, if you read the following, do you feel that the judge is acting as a judge or actually stepping in as a legislator?
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today tossed new federal fuel economy standards for some sport utility vehicles, minivans and light trucks, arguing that regulators failed to properly assess the risk of global warming and that the new rules didn’t include larger SUVs and trucks.
The decision is a huge win for several environmental groups and 11 states that argued that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new fuel economy standards, announced in March 2006, ignored the effects of carbon dioxide emissions.
Currently, those vehicles are required to achieve 22.2 mpg for 2007 models. The new standards would have boosted that requirement to 24.1 mpg by 2011.
But the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the federal appeals court a month after the new standards were revealed, arguing that a38 mpg benchmark can be readily achieved by 2015.
Since then, other environmental groups, including Sierra Club, and 11 states led by California have joined the petition asking the federal regulators to come up with a new standard that considers global warming impacts.
“The court decision is a rebuke to the Bush administration and its refusal to make meaningful steps to reduce global warming pollution from our automobiles,” said Pat Gallagher, director of environmental law at Sierra Club. “The decision tells the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it can’t monkey the numbers when it sets fuel economy standards by ignoring the cost of carbon emissions.”
The court decision is the latest evidence of mounting pressure on the White House to address global warming.
Last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in an effort to force the federal agency to grant a waiver that would allow the Golden States to require automobile manufacturers to sell more fuel efficient vehicles starting next year.
It doesn’t sound like a legal issue to me, that’s all I can say.