WASHINGTON - Automakers and car dealers were on the losing side in last week's precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding tougher air quality standards for communities nationwide.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the National Automobile Dealers Association were among the business groups that intervened, but not because the case would have any direct effect on vehicle emission standards. Rules that set limits on tailpipe pollution were not part of the case.
Rather, the automotive associations said their reason for joining the litigation was that they believed no federal agency - in this case the EPA - should be allowed to impose regulations that will be costly to individuals, businesses or communities without sufficient reasons. The unanimous high court, however, said the EPA had not overstepped its authority when it toughened community air standards in 1997.
Some further legal wrangling is expected on methods of implementing the new standards, but states and local governments will have to find better ways to limit smog and soot.
That's not to say there won't be some impact on automotive businesses.
NADA has warned, for example, that dealers could be required to change or curtail body shop and service department operations in some dirty-air communities.