Natural Resources Council of Maine * Conservation Law Foundation
The Kennebec County Superior court has denied a request by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers to stay Maine’s new clean car standards. The court also refused to send the matter back to the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) for reconsideration.
“This is a good step forward for Maine’s environment and Maine’s consumers,” said Steve Hinchman, staff attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation in Brunswick, one of the two environmental groups that had joined the case to defend the State’s new rules.
“It’s time for the carmakers to stop the lawsuits and just start building cleaner cars,” said Jon Hinck, staff attorney for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, which also joined the case to defend Maine’s car pollution rules.
The lawsuit, filed by a trade group comprised of the nation’s largest carmakers including Ford, General Motors and Toyota, claims BEP violated procedure by failing to reexamine industry arguments. Ironically, Judge S. Kirk Studstrup denied the automakers’ procedural claims in part because they committed a procedural error of their own by invoking the wrong provisions of Maine law.
“Although the petitioner may be in the right church (the Administrative Procedures Act), it is in the wrong pew,” wrote Judge Studstrup in his Feb. 3, 2006 decision. Judge Studstrup also found that even if the carmakers had used the proper law, the motion for stay would have still been denied since the car makers failed to show that irreparable injury would arise if implementation of the new rules is not halted.
The Maine Attorney General’s office has asked the Court to dismiss the remainder of the case.