By Tsvetana Paraskova
The United States sued on Wednesday the state of California over its cap and trade emissions agreement with Quebec in Canada, arguing that only the federal government has competence to enter into or endorse agreements with foreign states or countries.
The U.S. filed a civil complaint against the state of California, several of its officers, the California Air Resources Board, and the Western Climate Initiative Inc, the Department of Justice said.
“The state of California has veered outside of its proper constitutional lane to enter into an international emissions agreement. The power to enter into such agreements is reserved to the federal government, which must be able to speak with one voice in the area of U.S. foreign policy,” said Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
“California’s unlawful cap-and-trade agreement with Quebec undermines the President’s ability to negotiate competitive agreements with other nations, as the President sees fit,” Clark added.
The Trump Administration argues in its complaint that California entered into an integrated cap-and-trade program with Quebec in 2013 without approval from Congress. The complaint, filed in the Eastern District of California, asks the court to declare California’s emissions trade deal unconstitutional and to stop its operation.
In 2013, California and Quebec integrated their cap-and-trade programs, creating an emissions trade market as they were seeking “cost-effective approaches to cut greenhouse gas emissions.”
The lawsuit filed by the U.S. against California today is the latest in a series of clashes between the Trump Administration and the state of California in environment-related matters in recent months and years.
The Trump administration moved last month to strip California of its authority to set stricter vehicle emission standards than on federal level.
Separately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told California in September that the state is violating clean water standards by allowing human waste from homeless people to go into waterways.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com