Cuccinelli’s Climate Denier Lawsuits Could Junk Auto Industry’s Recovery

Ken CuccinelliVirginia’s radical attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli (R-VA), is threatening the recovery of the American auto industry with new climate denial lawsuits. To the applause of automakers, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation finalized landmark new fuel economy standards last week, completing President Obama’s campaign promise. Cuccinelli has already filed a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger the public, claiming that hacked “Climategate” emails prove a conspiracy by scientists involved with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to replace real science with “political science.” In response to the new fuel economy standards — the first rules to take into account greenhouse pollution — Cuccinelli is filing yet another lawsuit, according to spokesman Brian Gottstein:

In that motion, the attorney general’s office asked the EPA to reopen its proceedings in light of the recent evidence that the reports the EPA was relying on for its decision contained erroneous and/or unverifiable global temperature and other data. We will file a notice of appeal with respect to today’s ruling.

Cuccinelli’s suit against the science of global warming is baseless, as numerous Virginia climatologists have told the Wonk Room. Furthermore, the auto industry stands fully behind this new program,” as Dave McCurdy, President and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has written.

Killing the endangerment finding — as numerous state legislatures, attorneys general, and lawmakers in Congress are trying to do — would destroy the stakeholders’ fuel economy agreement. The United Auto Workers describe that “California and other states have agreed to forgo state-level regulation of tailpipe emissions and abide by the new national standard that will be created by these NHTSA and EPA rules.” If the denier Dirty Air Act efforts go through, UAW explains the “critically important progress” will be “overturned”:

However, the critically important progress that was achieved with this historic agreement will be undermined if EPA’s endangerment finding is overturned. Without this finding, EPA will not be able to proceed with its current rulemaking on light duty vehicles. If the joint rulemaking process collapses, NHTSA has indicated that it will not be able to meet the statutory timetable for implementing any fuel economy increases for the 2012 model year. And in the absence of the EPA standard, California and other states would certainly move forward with their standards, thereby subjecting auto manufacturers to all of the burdens that the one national standard was designed to avoid.

The fears of UAW that multi-state standards would be catastrophic are a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even though the American auto industry can certainly handle multi-state standards, a return to the Bush era of recrimination and lawsuit instead of a focus on competitiveness and innovation would be crippling. Cuccinelli is not only wasting taxpayer money trying to overturn EPA’s scientific finding, he’s trying to dismantle the historic agreement that all stakeholders agree will create American jobs and increase national competitiveness.

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