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Association of Irritated Residents v. California Air Resources Board
California Court of Appeal
143 Cal. Rptr. 3d 65, 206 Cal. App. 4th 1487 (2012)
Under the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (the act), California directed the California Air Resources Board (the ARB) (defendant) to develop regulations to achieve long-term greenhouse-gas reductions. The act tasked the ARB with preparing and adopting a scoping plan for achieving the maximum feasible and cost-effective reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions, with a minimum goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The act required the ARB to evaluate the economic impacts of various reduction measures in the plan and to update the plan every five years. After extensive research, workshops, and hearings, the ARB adopted a plan with 18 categories of reduction measures and recommended additional measures for further reductions beyond 2020. The plan recommended using primarily a cap-and-trade program for regulating industrial emissions, which the ARB found the most cost-effective after evaluating several options. The plan recommended only voluntary measures rather than direct regulations for agricultural emissions because of the current scientific uncertainty regarding the biological sources of agricultural greenhouse-gas emissions. The Association of Irritated Residents, along with other organizations and individuals (collectively, AIR) (plaintiffs), filed a petition for a writ of mandate in state court arguing that the scoping plan failed to satisfy the requirements of the act. Specifically, AIR argued that the plan’s measures achieved only the minimum reduction goal of 1990 levels of emissions, rather than the maximum reduction in emissions mandated by the act. According to AIR, the plan lacked a standardized measurement for cost-effectiveness and omitted feasible and cost-effective direct regulations of emissions in the agricultural and industrial sectors. These arguments failed in the trial court, and AIR ultimately cross-appealed, asserting that the scoping plan violated the act.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Pollak, J.)
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