Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Calls National Vehicle Emissions Standards A Hard-Fought Victory; State Legal Battle Likely Over

May 19, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said that President Obama's plan to impose a tough national fuel-economy standard -- rather than force states to fight pollution alone -- will likely end Connecticut's legal battle to uphold its strong emissions standards.

Blumenthal and 18 other attorneys general sued the federal government last year after former President Bush's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied California's request to impose vehicle emissions standards stronger than the federal standards.

Connecticut's ability to enforce its own tougher vehicle emissions standards, and the ability of other states to do the same, was contingent upon California's battle.

President Obama's plan to impose strong standards nationally may resolve the ongoing legal battle for the right to protect their own citizens against dirty vehicles.

"These national emission standards -- powerful and historic -- deliver a message of unity in the fight against pollution," Blumenthal said. "Our coalition of states has fought for years -- a battle that remains ongoing -- for the right to protect our citizens and planet from harmful tailpipe pollution.

"Today's action seeks to unify our states, rather than force them to fight alone. States should be empowered to protect their people from environmental and public health harm -- but not forced into action by a failing federal government.

"I applaud President Obama's administration for confronting the auto industry and compelling reasonable and realistic change -- achievable all along, but ignored until now. This step will likely end our legal battle and enable significant emissions reductions to will protect our air, health and environment.

"My office will continue to work as part of a coalition of states and coordinate what next steps are necessary to ensure that our people and planet are protected."