Justice Department sues California over air pollution agreement with Canada

DAMIEN MALONEY  The New York Times News Service

DAMIEN MALONEY The New York Times News Service

The lawsuit, filed in a Sacramento-based USA district court, argues the state stepped outside its proper constitutional lane by making a deal with the Canadian province on a cap-and-trade deal for limiting carbon dioxide emissions.

Quebec says it will go it alone if California is forced out of their current partnership aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark says California "veered outside its proper constitutional lane".

The United States on Wednesday sued California and other entities in the state for entering an agreement with a Canadian province in 2013 to control emissions linked to climate change, saying the state had no right to conduct foreign policy.

California has filed more than 60 lawsuits against Trump's Justice Department, including over auto emissions standards, but the USA suing California is not as common.

California carbon prices fell on the news, with the December contract dropping 20 cents to $17.08 a metric ton, according to Evan Ard, a managing director at broker Evolution Markets.

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"The White House is yet again continuing its political vendetta against California, our climate policies, and the health of our communities", Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement.

"We are satisfied with cap-and-trade". Its initial goal was to cut greenhouse emission levels in the state to 1990 levels by 2020.

Last month, the Department of Justice launched an investigation into four automakers that struck a deal with California to build more fuel-efficient vehicles, in an end run around the administration's efforts to roll back Obama-era auto regulations.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation said in September they were withdrawing the state's waiver to set fuel economy standards.

The lawsuit from the Department of Justice, announced Wednesday, also names the California Air Resources Board and the nonprofit corporation Western Climate Initiative Inc.

-With assistance from Andrew Harris, David R. Baker, Emily Dooley and Christopher Martin.

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