U.S. Chamber’s legal challenge to California emission rules dismissed

By Michael Riley
Bloomberg News

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce challenge to California’s rules limiting greenhouse gases was dismissed by a federal appeals court in Washington that said it had no jurisdiction to decide the case.

The chamber claimed in a lawsuit that the Obama administration improperly created a patchwork of auto- emissions standards by allowing California to impose its own rules limiting the carbon-trapping gases. The chamber, joined by the National Automobile Dealers Association, challenged a federal waiver granted to California.

“Because the chamber has not identified a single member who was or would be injured by EPA’s waiver decision, it lacks standing to raise this challenge,” the court found in today’s decision. As a result, the court said it had no jurisdiction to rule. Automakers, which were restricted by the rules, declined to sue, the court said.

The waiver from federal Clean Air Act standards, issued in 2009, covers greenhouse-gas emissions for vehicles made from 2009 through 2016. Thirteen other states and the District of Columbia have agreed to adopt the California standards, according to court papers.

Automobile manufacturers would have to alter the mix of vehicles they deliver to California and other states that adopted the rules, a practice known as mix-shifting, according to the lawsuit. Auto dealers therefore would be unable to obtain certain vehicles their customers want to buy, the groups claimed.

Citing the example of a Ford dealership, the court found that the plaintiffs “failed to establish that even if such mix- shifting were to be required, it would have an effect on the ability of the identified Ford dealers to meet their customers’ demands.”

J.P. Fielder, a spokesman for the chamber, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.