Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Got smog? Sue someone!

Per Reuters (through Drudge), California tried to sue six automakers for damaging the state with greenhouse gases. Thankfully, the suit was thrown out, with the statement that this should be decided by the legislature rather than the courts. Of course, the Ninth Circuit will reinstate the suit, so this is obviously not over. With that assumption, I have some questions:

1. Why sue the automakers? Why not sue the drivers? This isn't like the cigarette lawsuits of the 90s, in which the manufacturers were shown to recognize the addictive effects of their own product. Unless there's been a new study, I've not seen anything proving that driving is addictive, thereby making drivers complicit in this damage as well.

1½. And how about the people who fly private jets? They're definitely doing more damage than the average driver. Then, perhaps, we might see some of these environmental activists having to explain why they can't be bothered with flying commercial like the rest of us.

2. Really, if California is so concerned about the environmental damage, why hasn't the legislature done anything about it? Suing the vehicle manufacturers seems like either a cop-out or a show. Neither option is terribly helpful.

1 comments:

Mike said...

"Really, if California is so concerned about the environmental damage, why hasn't the legislature done anything about it?"

California has been at the forefront of almost every bit of environmental legislation in this country - but a substantial number of their efforts were overriden by the Feds (when it comes to environmental law, Republicans lose their love for federalism). This includes previous efforts to mandate better vehicle mileage, for instance. They went to the courts because the legislative path was blocked by Bush and friends.