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Legal challenges not yet affecting California climate policies

In 2006, the California state legislature enacted A.B. 32, otherwise known as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Since its enactment, various provisions of the bill have been challenged in numerous legal actions. However, these legal challenges seem to have had little impact on the strength and steadfastness of the bill.

According to Bloomberg, numerous sources confirm that implementation of the programs and provisions outlined in this California climate change policy bill have not been delayed by any legal challenge mounted so far. Eight years after the bill was enacted, one Los Angeles attorney told Bloomberg that “The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is batting about 1,000,” in reference to the legal challenges the agency has faced in regards to the bill.

It is worth noting that numerous appeals to decisions favoring CARB and the climate change bill are currently being considered. Therefore, it is possible that some of the bill’s provisions will not be honored in their entirety at some point in the future. However, these challenges and appeals should not give any business license to engage in environmental violations simply because the scope of what actions constitute violations of the bill may be altered in the future.

Legal challenges to existing law have the power to change the law’s scope and reach. However, it is critically important that businesses continue to comply with existing law. Failure to do so can result in significant legal penalties. If you have concerns about complying with any provision contained within the California climate change bill, please consult an attorney experienced in environmental law.

Source: Bloomberg, “California Climate Policies Continue To Survive Legal Challenges,” Carolyn Whetzel, March 28, 2014

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