Brown Signs on to Agreement for Nationwide Adoption of California's Vehicle Emissions Standards

May 19, 2009
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Washington, DC – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed on to an “historic agreement” between the Obama Administration, the State of California and automakers that will lead to the nationwide adoption of California’s stringent vehicle emissions standards.

Under the agreement, the federal government will require a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. This will mean that U.S. motor vehicles will be required to achieve a fleetwide standard of approximately 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016, four years earlier than federal law requires.

This is the first greenhouse gas emission limit by the federal government, and it is the direct result of California's action to control tailpipe emissions.

“This is an historic agreement that will lead to a 30 percent reduction in motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions nationwide,” Brown said. “This agreement brings an end to a five-year legal battle; it means that automakers finally recognize that their future depends on making cleaner and more efficient vehicles.”

For over 40 years, California has had authority under the Clean Air Act to set stricter standards than the federal government for automobile emissions. Other states have been permitted to adopt those tougher standards for the past 30 years.

In 2005, California applied its authority to greenhouse gas emissions, adopting standards that require a 30 percent reduction in global warming emissions from vehicles by 2016. Fourteen states adopted identical regulations.

The automobile industry attacked California’s standards at every turn, challenging them in both state and federal court.

Brown has staunchly and successfully defended California’s law against these challenges, provided assistance to Vermont, Rhode Island, and New Mexico whose laws were also challenged, and sued Bush Administration’s EPA for denying California’s waiver.

Brown expects EPA will act quickly to grant California’s waiver. Once the waiver is granted, the state will consider compliance with a substantially similar federal standard to be compliance with California’s standard.

There are 32 million registered vehicles in California, twice the number of any other state. Cars generate 20% of human-made carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, and at least 30% of such emissions in California.

A copy of Brown's letter outlining his understanding of the agreement it attached.

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Attorney General Brown's Letter Brief to the California Supreme Court on Coral Construction v. City of San Francisco

April 23, 2009
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Attorney General Edmund G. Brown has responded to the California Supreme Court's query regarding the constitutionality of Proposition 209 in the Coral Construction v. City of San Francisco Case.

Attached is a copy of the letter brief.

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Brown Praises EPA's Preliminary Determination that Greenhouse Gases Endanger Public Health or Welfare

April 17, 2009
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today commended the Environmental Protection Agency for taking the federal government’s “first concrete step toward curbing global warming” by issuing a proposed determination that greenhouse gases endanger public health or welfare.

“After years of inexcusable neglect under the Bush Administration, the EPA has taken the first concrete step toward curbing global warming by making a preliminary determination that greenhouse gases endanger public health or welfare.” Attorney General Brown said. “This proposed endangerment determination opens the door to the first serious national effort to reduce greenhouse gases.”

This proposed determination stems from the Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA -- a case in which California was a lead plaintiff -- which required EPA to determine whether the greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming “may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.”
The Bush Administration refused to comply with the court’s order to make such a determination.

Brown has made combating global warming a major priority of the Attorney General’s office. He has:
• Requested the EPA requesting to curb greenhouse gases from ocean-going vessels, aircraft, and non-road vehicles;

• Urged the EPA to regulate emissions from power plants and other large polluting sources;

• Sued the Department of Energy for failing to require updated efficiency standards for appliances and other equipment;

• Sued the Fish and Wildlife Service for allowing federal projects to be approved without considering the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on endangered species; and

• Defended California's new motor vehicle greenhouse gas regulations from challenge by the automobile industry.

In California, Attorney General Brown has reached path-breaking settlements with San Bernardino County and the City of Stockton requiring them to adopt Climate Action Plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and has filed over 40 comments letters on local land-use projects under the California Environmental Quality Act.

More information on Attorney General Brown’s efforts to combat global warming can be found at http://ag.ca.gov/globalwarming/.

Brown and 14 States Urge Obama Administration to Allow California to Enforce its Greenhouse Gas Emissions Law

April 7, 2009
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. and 14 other states yesterday urged the Obama Administration to overturn the Bush EPA’s “shameful denial” of California’s request to enforce its automobile greenhouse gas emissions law.

“The Bush Administration’s shameful denial of California’s waiver fundamentally ignored the serious impacts that global warming is having on our state,” Attorney General Brown said. “The Obama Administration should overturn Bush’s wrongheaded decision and allow California to enforce its greenhouse gas law.”
In a comment letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Attorney General Brown, joined by 14 other states, wrote that under the Clean Air Act, California is entitled to be granted authority to enforce its law and EPA should grant the waiver immediately.

In 2002, California enacted legislation requiring a 30 % reduction in automobile greenhouse gas emissions by 2016. But before the State can enforce its law, EPA must grant a Clean Air Act wavier.

The Bush EPA denied California’s request for such a waiver in 2007, arguing that California did not need the regulation to address 'compelling and extraordinary conditions.' This denial reversed decades of agency practice and ignored the dangerous consequences of global warming to the State of California.

Global warming threatens California's Sierra mountain snow pack, which provides the state with one-third of its drinking water. California also has approximately 1,000 miles of coastline and levees that are threatened by rising sea levels.

In the 40-year history of the Act, EPA has granted approximately 50 waivers to California for innovations like catalytic converters, exhaust emission standards, and leaded gasoline regulations. Until the Bush Administration’s decision, a waiver request had never been denied.

On February 6, 2009, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that the Obama EPA would review the Bush EPA’s denial of California's waiver request.

There are 32 million registered vehicles in California, twice the number of any other state. Cars generate 20% of human-made carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, and at least 30% of such emissions in California.

Brown’s letter was also signed by the New York City Corporation Counsel and 14 other states, including Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Attorney General Brown's letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is attached.

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Brown Urges Obama Administration to Allow California to Enforce Tough Greenhouse Gas Emissions Law

March 5, 2009
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

March 5, 2009
Contact: Christine Gasparac (916) 324-5500

Brown Urges Obama Administration to Allow California to Enforce Tough Greenhouse Gas Emissions Law

SACRAMENTO –Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today urged the Obama Administration to overturn the Bush EPA’s “illegal and shortsighted” denial of California’s request to carry out its state law requiring a 30% reduction in tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions.

“The Clean Air Act gives California the right to pass tough laws to fight pollution,” Attorney General Brown said. “The Bush EPA adopted an illegal and shortsighted policy by blocking California’s tough emissions standard. California’s law will drive technological innovation and cut greenhouse gases. I urge the Obama Administration to grant our request.”

In 2002, California passed AB 1493, which requires a 30 % reduction in tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions by 2016, starting with model year 2009.

EPA must grant California’s waiver request before the state can enforce its tough emissions standards. The Bush administration had been ducking California’s request since 2005. In 2007, the Bush Administration denied California’s request.

On February 6, 2009, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced the Agency’s decision to review its denial of California’s request to implement its greenhouse gas emission law.

There are 32 million registered vehicles in California, twice the number of any other state. Cars generate 20% of all human-made carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, and at least 30% of such emissions in California. If California’s landmark global warming law—and the corresponding 30% improvement in emissions standards—were adopted nationally, the United States could cut annual oil imports by $100 billion dollars at $50 per barrel.

Attorney General Brown’s letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is attached.

March 6, 2009

Via E-Mail and First Class Mail

The Honorable Lisa P. Jackson
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

Re: Request for Comments on California State Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Standards; Greenhouse Gas Regulations; Reconsideration of Previous Denial of a
Waiver of Preemption; 74 Fed. Reg. 7040 (Feb. 12, 2009); Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2006-0173
Dear Administrator Jackson:

These comments are submitted in support of California’s waiver application. I strongly support EPA’s decision to reconsider its decision denying the waiver. The denial was in error, on both legal and factual grounds. EPA’s willingness to review that decision represents an important step after years of Bush Administration resistance to environmental protection. I intend to submit more detailed comments addressing both the factual errors and legal defects in EPA’s waiver denial decision. Today, however, I make two points: First, EPA’s decision to reconsider its waiver denial is proper. Second, given the urgency of dealing with global warming, EPA should grant California’s waiver as soon as possible.

EPA’s Decision to Reconsider the Waiver Denial is Appropriate and Proper.

EPA’s decision to reconsider its denial of California’s waiver request is both sound and legally correct. See, e.g., Sierra Club v. Vanantwerp, 560 F. Supp.2d 21 (D. D.C. 2008). There are substantial defects in EPA’s waiver denial decision that require correction, and it makes sense for EPA, the expert administrative agency, to cure its own mistakes.

In this denial, EPA departed from long standing past practice and considered whether California’s GHG emissions standard was needed to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions related to a specific pollutant – GHG emissions. Until this decision, EPA had looked at California’s emissions program in its totality, as the Clean Air Act requires. 42 U.S.C. § 7543. California’s separate emissions program has been approved because of the state’s climate, geography, extraordinarily severe air quality problems, and the large number and concentration of motor vehicles contributing to these problems. The Administrator also determined that climate change impacts in California were not sufficiently different from the nation as a whole and, therefore, did not support adoption of state standards regulating motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. This conclusion ignores that California continues to have compelling and extraordinary conditions justifying its own mobile source program, and that the impacts from climate change will be particularly severe in the state, given California’s extensive coastline, significant dependence on snow pack for water supply, vulnerability to floods and wildfires, severe ozone problem, and other impacts. These fundamental errors, among others, undermine the legitimacy of the waiver denial because they misconstrue the Clean Air Act and depart from decades of prior, sound agency practice.

In the landmark case Massachusetts v. EPA, 127 S. Ct. 1438 (2007), the Bush Administration fought to avoid its responsibility to deal with the threat of global warming. It took the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which rejected its arguments and ruled that global warming emissions are pollutants under the Clean Air Act. Even after the Court’s decision, EPA delayed taking any action on greenhouse gases for close to two years. EPA’s decision denying California’s waiver was another attempt to avoid the agency’s obligation to administer the Clean Air Act, as Congress wrote it. Now that EPA is reconsidering that decision, California looks forward to working with EPA so that these important standards can, finally, become effective.

EPA Should Grant the Waiver as Soon as Possible.

Global warming is the arguably most urgent environmental issue of our time. Our way of life and perhaps even our survival depend on our response to this problem. The regulations before you are a first, bold step toward dealing with global warming. They are ready to be enforced. Without Congress’ foresight in allowing California its important leadership role in setting automobile emissions standards, we would not have these ready-to-implement regulations today. All we need is a waiver from EPA. That waiver is long overdue. We have been waiting since 2005 for it.

Fourteen states plus the District of Columbia have adopted California’s greenhouse gas emissions regulations, with another four states in the process. The 14 states represent at least 37 percent of the nation’s vehicles and the four states in the process will raise the level to approximately 47 percent. There are several more states debating whether to adopt the program and, if they move forward, will represent over half the nation. We are optimistic that EPA will, upon reconsideration, grant California’s waiver request, thereby allowing California’s standards to become effective.

EPA therefore should waste no time in granting California’s waiver application as soon as possible. I am confident that upon reconsideration, the agency will determine that the request is consistent with the Clean Air Act and must be granted.

Attorney General

cc: Dickinson.David@EPA.gov

Brown Renews Call for Supreme Court to Invalidate Proposition 8

March 3, 2009
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

San Francisco -- Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today renewed his call for the California Supreme Court to invalidate Proposition 8, in advance of Thursday's oral arguments.

His comments can be found at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jerry-brown/proposition-8-should-be-s_b_17...

The text of Attorney General Brown's post follows:

Proposition 8 Should Be Struck Down

The California Supreme Court finds itself center stage this Thursday when it will hear oral arguments on whether it should uphold Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage.

The case touches the heart of our democracy and poses a profound question: can a bare majority of voters strip away an inalienable right through the initiative process? If so, what possible meaning does the word inalienable have?

The state faced a dilemma like this before. In 1964, 65 percent of California voters approved Proposition 14, which would have legalized racial discrimination in the selling or renting of housing. Both the California and U.S. Supreme Courts struck down this proposition, concluding that it amounted to an unconstitutional denial of rights.

As California's Attorney General, I believe the Court should strike down Proposition 8 for remarkably similar reasons -- because it unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex couples and deprives them of the fundamental right to marry.

Some vigorously disagree. That's the position of Ken Starr and those who argue that a simple majority can eliminate the right to marry. But such a claim completely ignores California's history and the nature of our constitution.

Fundamental rights in California are recognized and protected by our constitution, which declares in Article I, Section 1 that 'all people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights' and 'among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.'

These fundamental premises of a free people were declared when the constitution was first adopted. The initiative process came much later in 1911, when the immediate concern was to give the people power over the railroads, which were seen as having a stranglehold over the legislature. In creating this initiative process, there was no discussion or any evidence of intent to permit a simple majority of voters to take away the pre-existing rights deemed inalienable by Article I.

In 2008, the California Supreme Court was faced with the question of how the values enshrined in Article I apply to same sex marriages. It concluded that the concept of 'liberty' includes the right to form the enduring relationship called marriage and that no compelling interest justified denying this right to same sex couples. Just like the right to be free from discrimination in housing, citizens have the right to be free from discrimination in state-granted marriage licenses.

With this Supreme Court decision, same sex marriage has the protection of Article 1 and, like other inalienable rights, cannot be taken away by a popular vote -- whether it be 52% (as was the case in Proposition 8) or 65% (as it was for Proposition 14).

I believe, therefore, the Court must conclude as I have that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional and should be stricken.

Brown Announces Victory Against Weak Bush-Era Air Pollution Standards

February 24, 2009
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Sacramento–Attorney General Edmund G. Brown today announced that a coalition of 18 states and cities have won reversal of controversial Bush-era pollution standards “justified by nothing more than junk science” and which threatened to undermine public health.

"This dangerous air pollution causes thousands of premature deaths each year. Yet the Bush Administration callously ignored the facts and put forward a standard justified by nothing more than junk science,” Attorney General Brown said. “Today, the DC Circuit Court cleared the way for the Obama Administration to right this wrong.”

Fine soot pollution (also known as fine particulate matter pollution or “PM 2.5”) comes from diesel vehicles, power plants and other sources, and is prevalent in urban areas. Because fine soot can lodge deep in the lungs, it can cause numerous harmful health effects, including premature death, chronic respiratory illness, decreased lung function, cardiovascular disease and asthma. Children, senior citizens, and people with existing lung and heart diseases are especially susceptible to harm from fine soot pollution.

That is why EPA’s scientists and scientific advisory committee recommended strict new standards for fine soot in 2005. However, the Bush Administration rejected their advice and chose a weaker, less protective standard. Today’s decision clears the path for the Obama Administration to issue new, stronger standards.

Today’s decision, issued by the federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, agreed with the coalition that the Bush EPA had acted illegally in issuing weak air pollution standards for fine soot, acting against the advice of EPA professional staff and EPA’s own scientific advisory committee. The court found that the Bush EPA had also erred by not taking into account the special sensitivity to air pollution of children, elderly people and other vulnerable populations. The Court remanded the standards to the new Obama EPA to issue new, more protective air pollution standards for fine soot that will better protect public health.

The states, cities and other state agencies joining in the challenge that led to today’s victory are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Rhode Island, Vermont, the District of Columbia and the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The States of Arizona, Maryland and Massachusetts also joined as friends of the court.

Brown Praises EPA's Decision to Reconsider California's Clean Air Act Waiver for Vehicle Emissions

February 6, 2009
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

'Today’s decision is a return to sanity by an agency whose fairness and balance had been sabotaged by the partisan extremism of the Bush Administration.

This is but a first step, but it signals that this EPA has a renewed commitment to sound science and to rule of law.

California has led the way on global warming, and the state should be allowed to continue in its leadership role in reducing automobile emissions and addressing global warming.”

Brown Calls on Court to Terminate Prison Receivership

January 28, 2009
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today called on the federal district court to terminate an “unaccountable prison receivership” and its extravagant $8 billion prison construction plan because both violate federal law.

“The court should terminate this unaccountable prison receivership and its $8 billion construction plan, restoring a dose of fiscal reality to the provision of inmate medical care in California,” Attorney General Brown said. “The federal receivership has turned into its own autonomous government operating outside the normal checks and balances of state and federal law,” Brown added.

The Receiver’s $8 billion plan calls for adding 7 new prison health care facilities containing 10,000 new beds for prisoners -- that’s 7 million square feet, or the size of 70 new Walmarts. The plan would also renovate space at each of the 33 existing state prisons.

A draft of the plan also includes yoga rooms, horticultural therapy, extensive landscaping to obscure prison fences, music and art therapy, regulation basketball courts, quiet rooms, an emphasis on natural light and high ceilings, and a so-called “treatment mall.” A subsequent draft contains most of the same features without the graphic detail.

The construction of new facilities, as well as the upgrading of existing facilities, is estimated to cost $8 billion. In addition, it will cost $1.7 billion to $2.3 billion per year to operate these facilities. The projected operations cost per inmate is $170,000 to $230,000 per year. This extravagant plan comes at a time when California is facing a fiscal catastrophe and funding for school children is being slashed.

The Termination Motion
In a motion filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the Attorney General urged the court to terminate the Receivership and his plan for the construction of prison healthcare facilities – because the Prison Litigation Reform Act prohibits judges from ordering the construction of state prison facilities and limits court-imposed remedies to the “least intrusive” possible.

In place of the $8 billion plan, the Attorney General called for returning the prison health care system to the State and the appointment of an interim Special Master to conduct hearings and make proposed findings of fact.

California is under Federal court order to provide health care that is not “deliberately indifferent” to the health needs of prisoners. The State of California is committed to providing such care.

The State – under the receivership – has taken significant steps to improve inmate health care. California has increased health care staffing and filled almost 90 percent of open physician positions, improved emergency response, professional standards, contracting systems, and health care screenings.

In total, California has increased per inmate health care spending from $7,601 per year in 2005-2006 to $13,778 in 2007-2008. By comparison, spending per inmate in federal prisons will be $4,413 per inmate in 2008-2009. The average cost of health care coverage for a single person in California in 2008 was $4,906.

Nevertheless, the Receiver continues to insist on a massive program that would lead to the construction of facilities and amenities that go well-beyond standards required by the Constitution and federal law. The Prison Litigation Reform Act, signed into law in 1996, forbids judges from ordering construction of state prison facilities, and requires that any plan that a court orders be “narrowly drawn, extend “no further than necessary” to correct the violation of the Federal right, and be the “least intrusive means necessary.” (18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(1)(A))

On August 25, 2008, the Receiver filed a motion to hold the Governor and other State officials in contempt for failing to turn over to the Receiver $8 billion for his construction plans, and the district court ordered the state to make a down-payment of $250 million by November 5.

Subsequently, Brown appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit, which stayed the district court order. The Ninth Circuit will hear oral argument in the case on February 12, 2009.

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Brown Responds to President Obama's Announcement on Global Warming

January 26, 2009
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Sacramento – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown today issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s direction to the EPA to reconsider California’s Clean Air Act waiver to enforce its landmark global warming legislation.

“Today’s dramatic announcement by President Obama marks the first time that an American President has taken decisive action to deal with global warming.

California welcomes President Obama’s commitment to make cars cleaner, more efficient, and less dependent on foreign oil.

What a difference from the dangerous paralysis of the Bush years.”

Last year, Attorney General Brown filed suit against the Bush Administration for denying California’s request for a Clean Air Act waiver to enforce the state's landmark greenhouse gas emissions standards. This was the first time that the EPA had denied a Clean Air Act waiver request from California.