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Court Rules in Favor of California Cap-and-Trade Agreement

On Thursday, California won the first round in federal court against the Department of Justice who filed a suit in October. The lawsuit challenged California cap-and-trade agreement done in collaboration with Québec. According to the Department of Justice, California’s collaboration with an entity outside of the United States is unconstitutional. The Department claimed that the agreement is nearly identical to an “independent foreign policy” and therefore should be referred to as a “treaty” that only the federal government can impose.

U.S. District Judge William Shubb ruled that the agreement between California and Quebec does not increase its power relative to the federal government nor does it rise to the level to be considered a treaty since the agreement is not legally binding and it is solely a good-faith deal between two parties. Further, Shubb also ruled against the Department's claim that the Clean Air Act implicitly prohibits agreements between states and foreign powers without congressional consent. The case is expected to continue next month, where the court will rule on two additional claims from the Department of Justice.