WASHINGTON (AP) — Automakers on Friday said they would appeal a ruling by a federal judge in Vermont that said states could regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.
The industry, represented by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, has argued that federal law pre-empts state rules in the regulation of fuel economy standards and the technology cannot be developed to meet the tough standards pushed by California and others.
''Evidence provided during the trial demonstrates that the federal law is very explicit: states are pre-empted from adopting fuel economy laws and complex issues such as greenhouse gas emissions must be dealt with comprehensively on the national level,'' said Dave McCurdy, president and chief executive of the Alliance of Automobile Manufactures.
The notice of appeal was filed by attorneys for the Alliance, a trade group representing nine automakers, including General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler LLC and Toyota Motor Corp.
A similar notice was also filed by the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, which represents Toyota, Nissan Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. and others. Automakers are expected to outline the grounds of the appeal later this month.
McCurdy said the appeal was ''urgent'' because the regulations applied to 2009 model year vehicles, which will begin to appear in showrooms early next year.
In his 240-page ruling in September, Judge William Sessions III noted that greenhouse gas regulations presented great challenges to auto companies but said ''history suggests that the ingenuity of the industry, once put in gear, responds admirably to most technological challenges.''
He wrote that he was ''unconvinced'' that the industry could not meet the regulations imposed by Vermont and California. Automakers said the regulations, which have been adopted by California and 11 other states and are pending in three others, would not stop global warming but cause new financial burdens.
Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell said Friday the industry's appeal was expected but noted that Sessions thoroughly examined the facts and arguments in his lengthy decision.
''We won on all points, so it's an uphill sled for the industry on the appeal, but nothing's certain until the Supreme Court rules,'' Sorrell said.
The limits, scheduled to start phasing in as of 2009, would require a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks by 2016, a standard the car makers have said would require average fuel economy standards for cars and the lightest category of trucks of 43.7 miles per gallon.
For the rules to be implemented, the Environmental Protection Agency still must grant a waiver applied for by California under the federal Clean Air Act and has said a decision is expected by the end of the year.
California has received similar waivers in the past, allowing it to set up tougher anti-pollution standards than those outlined by the federal government. States can choose to follow California's standards.