Automakers continue to doggedly pursue every legal angle they can for holding up California's clean-cars efforts, but they've decided to sit down with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and consider ways to work together on reducing GHG emissions. The upshot: industry leaders concede that the ground has fallen out from under them, both in legal battles and in the court of public opinion:
The auto industry executives had requested the meeting, which appeared to begin laying the groundwork to soften post-Bush regulations. On emissions, the auto companies are losing clout in Congress and face three leading presidential candidates weighing in on California's side.
“There will be a new conversation” in Washington, McCurdy conceded. However, that must include other sources of emissions, from railroads to oil refineries to utilities, he added.
Schwarzenegger suggested to reporters that automakers have known changes were coming since 2002, when the state passed the law.
“I told them ... while you're whining you should be creating new technology,” he said.
Automakers might know their legal odds are slim, but that's not stopping them from threatening new lawsuits. On Tuesday, Arizona became the latest state to formally adopt California's tailpipe emissions standards, with regulators completing a process initiated by Governor Janet Napolitano. The reaction:
Following the panel's decision, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers lobbyist Knox Kimberly hinted at possible legal action.
"I think there's a very strong argument to be made in the courts," Kimberly said. "My guess, based on what has happened in the other states, is someone will sue."
Arizona legislators aligned with the industry's position had previously complained about not being consulted by Napolitano, and are mounting a legislative effort to overturn the regulatory process.