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More Legal Wrangling over Calif. Climate Law

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Four states are preparing to sue if California voters decide not to delay the implementation of a law limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

The planned suit by attorneys general in Alabama, Nebraska, North Dakota and Texas, reported by California Watch, argues that AB32 violates the right to freely conduct interstate commerce.

The law to cut emissions by 80 percent has already faced stiff opposition since it was signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, and Columbia law professor Michael Gerrard expects an even more protracted fight.

“Every move to regulate greenhouse gases is going to be the subject of hand-to-hand legal and political combat. Several of the attorneys general from the states that don’t like greenhouse gas regulation have already filed suits against the EPA because of these regulations. This is the latest salvo,” said Gerrard, who directs Columbia’s Center for Climate Change Law.

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The attorney general of North Dakota, for example, claims coal plants in that state cannot successfully sell power if they face a patchwork of differing state regulations.

If Proposition 23 passes in November, the unemployment rate would have to fall below 5.5 percent for the emissions standards to take effect. The campaign has received large contributions from three oil companies.

Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina has denounced AB32 as a job killer. Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has not taken a position on Prop 23, although she has indicated she is considering voting against it.

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