Reversing course from its previous position on the issue, the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed California's lawsuit challenging U.S. EPA's denial of the state's request for a waiver under the Clean Air Act to regulate automobile greenhouse gas emissions.
Upon grant of EPA's motion to reconsider the court's previous denial of EPA's motion to dismiss, which argued that the letter sent from EPA Administrator Johnson to Gov. Schwarzenegger last December did not constitute a final ruling on the matter by the EPA and thus could not be challenged in court, the Ninth Circuit agreed with EPA and held, without much discussion in the opinion, that the letter is “not a reviewable ‘final action’ of the Administrator under the Clean Air Act." As a result, the court held that it lacked jurisdiction over California's claims and dismissed the suit.
Similar claims remain pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which had held them in abeyance pending the outcome of the 9th circuit action. The timetable for further action from the D.C. Circuit is unclear.