Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


OLYMPIA –  Attorney General Rob McKenna and Gov. Chris Gregoire today applauded the U.S. Supreme Court decision in a critical challenge to the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the federal Clean Air Act.

Washington was one of 12 states, led by Massachusetts, to file the case in October 2003 challenging the EPA's refusal to initiate rulemaking under the federal Clean Air Act to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, from motor vehicles.

In a 5 - 4 decision today in favor of the states, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA has ample legal authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and that its failure to do so was arbitrary.  The court remanded the case to the EPA for further action consistent with this decision.

“Global warming is an international problem that we are addressing here in Washington,” said Gregoire, who was Attorney General at the time the case was filed.  “However, to be successful, we need federal leadership to limit emissions and join the states in taking on the most significant environmental threat we face.”

“This is a crucial decision for Washington. Washington joined this case because it directly addresses our state’s concerns about the regulation of CO2 emissions from cars,” said McKenna, who was serving as Attorney General when the Court of Appeals decision came out against the states in July 2005 and who approved the petition to the US Supreme Court.  “ The effects of greenhouse gas emissions do not stop at the state line and, despite Washington’s leadership on this issue, federal enforcement is critical.”

The state of Washington is engaged in regional efforts to address global warming, including CO2 emissions.  This includes: 
(1) state laws adopting California emission standards for certain motor vehicles, green building standards, appliance efficiency standards, minimum clean fuel standards and several other actions designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases;
(2) participation with Oregon, California, New Mexico, & Arizona Governor’s offices to develop the in the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative;
(3) an Executive Order issued by Governor Gregoire in February 2007 establishing aggressive greenhouse goal emission reduction goals; and
(4) development of the state’s Climate  Action Team.

For more on Washington's response to climate change, please visit www.ecy.wa.gov and click on "Climate Change."

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For more information contact:
Kristin Jacobsen, Office of Governor Chris Gregoire, 360-902-4122
Janelle Guthrie, APR, Office of State Attorney General Rob McKenna, 360-586-0725