Portland City Council
this morning will hear a resolution to authorize the city attorney's office to join in an amicus brief and participate in court proceedings in the case of City of New York v. Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade.
At issue in New York is a federal appeals court ruling that said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's efforts to require taxi companies to use hybrid or green-energy cars overstepped
boundaries by trying to regulate with local rules what was a federal matter. That concern is fuel-efficiency and emissions standards governed by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
Bloomberg now wants the U.S. Supreme Court to review the matter.
Portland's new resolution says "the Second Circuit's reading of the federal statute infringes on local autonomy to address vital issues of climate change." Documents supporting the resolution say "while Portland has not yet adopted taxi policies similar to New York's, since taxis constitute a much smaller share of transportation emissions here, the City may want to pursue similar policies in the future."
Those documents also indicate there may be larger issues at play.
"The breadth of the Appeals Court finding is wide enough that it does not apply only to cities and states that have green taxi rules in place, but might be construed to set precedent with regards to other incentive programs 'related to' an existing federal authority, in particular those falling under the EPCA or Clean Air Act (CAA)," Chief Deputy City Attorney Benjamin Walters writes. "This could potentially impact existing City of Portland policies such as the Local Renewable Fuel Standard, the requirement for commercial waste haulers to use 20 percent biodiesel, efforts related to incentivizing the adoption electric vehicles, and related goals and actions called out in the Climate Action Plan."