Respond fully to the following fact pattern and the questions that follow. Identify and discuss the relevant legal and ethical issues presented. You may want to do some outside reading/ research to help you in formulating your answer. Be sure to cite your sources as needed. Your response should be approximately 750 words (2.5 to 3 pages in length). Please use Times New Roman 12 pt. font and standard margins (this makes it easier).
In the Clean Air Act as amended, Congress allowed California, which has serious problems with air quality, to adopt its own standards for emissions from cars and trucks, subject to the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) according to certain standards. The Act also allowed other states to adopt California’s standards after EPA approval.
In 2004, California adopted emissions standards for all new passenger vehicles and lightduty trucks sold in California beginning in 2009. The standards imposed decreasing limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG) through 2016.
While EPA approval was pending, other states adopted the California standards. A group of industry associations, automakers, and new car dealerships filed suit to block state adoption of the standards (including California).
(a) Under the Environmental Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), a designated federal agency sets fuel economy standards for new cars. The plaintiffs argued, among other things, that the EPCA, which explicitly prohibits states from adopting separate fuel economy standards, preempts states from adopting their own emission standards. Is the plaintiffs’ argument valid? Discuss.
(b) Do the state emissions rules impose on the efforts of the federal government to address global warming internationally? Who should regulate GHGs, the states or the federal government? Both? Neither? Discuss.
(c) The plaintiffs also argued that they would go bankrupt if they were forced to adhere to a different GHG standard for each state. Should they be granted relief on this basis? Does history support their claim? Discuss.
This is a Business Law course! I am not particularly interested in reading treatises on libertarianism or environmentalism – I want you to think critically about the trade-offs between business and the environment, and comment on the legal and ethical issues that are presented above.
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