California’s first-in-the-nation effort to limit cars’ emissions of gases that contribute to global warming took a big step forward Wednesday when a federal judge upheld the state’s right to control air pollution and dismissed a challenge by the auto industry.

The nice thing here is that a lot of states have now tied their own policies to California’s. So if this ruling holds, Washington and Oregon will be able to follow suit!

There’s still one roadblock, though:

[The judge’s] ruling “leaves the Bush administration as the last remaining roadblock to California’s regulation of tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions,” said state Attorney General Jerry Brown, whose office defended the law.

A decision by the EPA is expected by the end of the year. Stay tuned.