The Orange County Register points out what should be obvious. By suing the major automotive companies for alleged damages caused by alleged global warming, California’s Attorney General, Bill Lockyer, is sending a clear message to all manufacturers, large and small: Go away. Go far, far away.
The world’s largest car manufacturers are not about to abandon California, of course, but the lawsuit reinforces the message to smaller companies that California is hostile to business. Mr. Lockyer seeks billions of dollars from the companies. If he succeeds, California car buyers will be forced to pay higher prices for their vehicles. The American auto industry is struggling at this time, as General Motors, Ford and now Chrysler are announcing layoffs and plant closures to stop massive losses. This type of regulatory overreach will only make it more difficult for U.S. companies to compete, and could result in further cutbacks in auto industry jobs.
Carmakers are building cleaner and more efficient automobiles in response to market demand. Yet instead of working cooperatively with automakers to achieve additional efficiency goals, Mr. Lockyer is going for the headlines by filing a lawsuit based on ephemeral legal grounds.
We’d say welcome to California, except that there is no welcome sign out in this state for business.