Environment & Energy Report

California Sues EPA in Fight Over Clean Car Standards

Nov. 15, 2019, 7:43 PM

California sued the Trump administration for rescinding an Obama-era waiver that allows the state to require sales of electric vehicles and set stricter auto-emissions standards than the federal government.

The state claims the Environmental Protection Agency wrongfully reversed course on the waiver after more than five decades of granting California permission to set its own standards.

Almost two dozen other states joined California’s lawsuit, filed Friday in Washington federal court, according to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

In a statement, Becerra highlighted the long history of other states adopting California’s tougher rules to reduce smog and help tackle the worsening impacts of climate change.

“The Trump administration, on the other hand, has chosen to side with polluters,” Becerra said. “We believe we’re on the right side of history.”

The administration’s new policy relates to federal greenhouse gas standards for passenger vehicles and light trucks for model years 2021 to 2026.

President Donald Trump has questioned the science of climate change and moved to pull the U.S. out of the global Paris Agreement to address the environmental threat. The EPA under Trump also has rapped California over water pollution and accused the state of not doing enough to curb smog.

Trump has also argued that his new policies will ensure that consumers can afford cars that could become out of reach under standards pushed by former President Barack Obama and blamed high gas prices for the California standards.

California in September filed a related lawsuit in Washington against the administration for asserting in its new policy that the Transportation Department’s authority to set fuel-economy standards preempts California’s ability to dictate tailpipe-emissions standards.

The Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was accused in the lawsuit of ignoring repeated efforts by federal lawmakers to preserve California’s power to improve its air quality.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Erik Larson in New York at elarson4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net

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