Virginia AG to Challenge New Fuel Efficiency Standards in Court

Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli intends to challenge, in federal court, new vehicle fuel efficiency standards released this week by the Obama administration and the EPA.

In February, Cuccinelli sued the EPA over its decision last year to regulate greenhouse gases in general, arguing it was based on climate data that was “unreliable, unverifiable and doctored.” New filings from his office will appeal that lawsuit in light of the inclusion of greenhouse gas regulation in the efficiency standards, which spokesman Brian Gottstein said amounts to a “tacit denial” of the earlier suit.

Under the new rules, known as CAFE standards, the average fuel efficiency of vehicles sold in the US will rise to about 35 mpg by 2016, the equivalent of no more than 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile. The new standards represent the first time the EPA has regulated the greenhouse gas emissions of vehicles.

Conservative lawsuit hound

Cuccinelli has made ample use of his legal powers since assuming office in January. He was among the first state AGs to sue after the passage of the healthcare bill. He also told state colleges in Virginia not to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and has gotten into hot water for providing legal advice on how to challenge Obama’s legislation by questioning his citizenship.

Spokesman Gottstein said the new motion in the EPA case will ask for the opportunity to present new evidence in court, according to the New Virginian. Gottstein said the motion will likely be filed sometime this month in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington.

BC (Ben) Upham is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has written for the New York Times, and was a writer and editor for News Communications, Inc., a local paper consortium serving Manhattan. When he's not blogging on green issues -- and especially renewable energy -- he's hiking in the Angeles Mountains or hanging out at El Matador.

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