As others have noted, Mass v. EPA will cause reverberations not only in Washington D.C., but also in the states. So next week, all eyes will shift to Vermont, where a federal district court judge will begin a three-week trial on whether or not Vermont's law limiting greenhouse gas emissions from new cars and trucks sold in the state is a valid one. The Burlington Free Press published this article about the case, Green Mountain Chrysler v. Dalmasse, yesterday. (For more information and links to some of the filings in the case, see Community Rights Counsel's global warming case library here.)
A little background: California and 11 other states have passed laws that limit the greenhouse gas emissions from new cars and trucks sold in those states, starting with the 2009 model year. Before these laws take effect, EPA has to grant California a waiver for its standards (which frees the other 11 states to implement them), and some states (California, Vermont and Rhode Island) have to win lawsuits brought by the automobile industry to block the emissions laws.
Automakers insist that the only way to reduce greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions is to raise fuel economy standards. They say that federal law leaves fuel economy standards exclusively to the federal government, so state laws reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars are preempted. Mass v. EPA effectively disentangled the fuel economy argument from the environmental protection argument, saying that EPA's job was "wholly independent" of that of the Department of Transportation. This is helpful for Vermont and its sister states, but it doesn't completely resolve the preemption issue, at least not in the mind of the Vermont district court judge, who on Wednesday denied the state's motion to dismiss the case in the wake of Mass v. EPA.
We hope to have the transcript of Wednesday's hearing on the motion to dismiss soon.