CalPERS Demands Automakers Meet Over Air Quality Lawsuit

December 13, 2004 ( - Members of the board of the of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) have voted to demand that major car makers meet with them to defend their lawsuit against the state's new air quality regulations.

The vote, taken Monday, supports a similar move made by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) that demands that the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers rethink its lawsuit, according to Reuters.

The group – which includes, among others, Ford , General Motors, and DaimlerChrysler – has challenged the state’s legal authority to institute air quality regulations to reduce exhaust emissions from cars and trucks. Adopted in September by the state’s Air Resources Board, the rules are the first in the country aimed at lowering emissions linked to global warning.

“The auto makers have upped the ante by filing suit,” said California Controller Steve Westly, a member of the board of CalPERS and CalSTRS, according to Reuters. “What I want to hear from them is that they are going to reconsider moving ahead with the suit.” Westly also said that Ford has expressed a willingness to meet with the pension systems.

The two systems combined have over $1.5 billion invested in automakers.

Late last month, CalPERS sent a letter to the group in an attempt to fight off such a lawsuit, urging them to accept the new emissions standards (See CalPERS Board Members Hope to Pressure Auto Group into Accepting New Emission Standards ).