Maine joins suit against EPA

Maine joined California and 15 other states and sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday for preventing the states from setting greenhouse gas limits for vehicles.

The states, together with five environmental groups, are asking a federal appeals court in San Francisco to overturn the EPA’s denial of a waiver that would have cleared the way for California to impose the nation’s first emissions limits.

At least 16 other states planned to follow California’s lead and impose the standards on at least 45 percent of the U.S. auto market.

The EPA denied California’s waiver on Dec. 19, arguing that it would result in a patchwork of state regulations. State officials and environmentalists accused the Bush administration of blocking progress against global warming.