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California can set its own standards on greenhouse-gas emissions from vehicles, a federal judge in Fresno has ruled, The San Jose Mercury News reports. The state still needs permission from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement the rules.

This is the second time this year that courts have ruled against the auto industry’s bid to stop regulation of tailpipe emissions by states. In September, a court decision in Vermont confirmed that states do have the ability to adopt California’s motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standards. Sixteen states comprising about 45 percent of all U.S. auto sales have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, California’s standards. The Vermont decision came on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last April saying the U.S. EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases.

California has filed a lawsuit against the EPA for failing to act on California’s tailpipe emissions waiver request.

California is the only state that can set its own vehicle pollution standards because it began regulating air pollution before the EPA’s creation. Under the Clean Air Act, however, other states can select either California’s rules or federal ones.


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