The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers also criticized the lawsuit, saying the state had failed to show that standards for greenhouse gases "address a problem unique to California." States should back off and allow the federal government to reduce emissions by increasing fuel economy standards, the organization said, rather than subjecting automakers to "a patchwork quilt of regulations at the state level."
Perhaps AAM hasn't properly read the Clean Air Act. Section 209, which deals with the issue of state standards, at no point requires California to demonstrate that its measures address a "unique" problem. Indeed, the Act's authors deliberately sought to continue the kind of state innovation that paved the way for the law's adoption in the first place, and the leeway provided has indeed empowered a decades-long regulatory regime that has led to critical innovations such as the catalytic converter.
The law does allow EPA to deny a waiver if state standards do not meet "compelling and extraordinary conditions," but this is a far cry from the standard of "unique" impact that the industry has invented out of thin air. It also bears repeating that objective analysis by the Congressional Research Service has determined that California's case to meet this textual standard is quite compelling, and was strengthened by the Supreme Court's ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA.
Just like its continued false assertions that state regulations will create a "patchwork quilt," the industry is substituting spin and its policy preferences for actual legal reasoning. AAM's problem seems to be not with California's measures per se, but with a kind of federalism that has long served our nation and was directly provided for by the Clean Air Act.