California Leads 18-State Coalition Suing EPA Over Car Emissions Standards


Moving to curb toxic air pollution and improve car gas mileage, California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr., California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have announced that California is leading an 18-state coalition to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to preserve the nation’s single vehicle emission standard.

Today’s lawsuit, which was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, seeks to set aside and hold unlawful the EPA’s effort to weaken the existing clean car rules. According to a press release from the governor’s office, the lawsuit is based on the fact that the U.S. EPA “acted arbitrarily and capriciously, failed to follow its own regulations and violated the Clean Air Act.”

Beginning in 2010, the EPA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and CARB established a single national program of greenhouse-gas emissions standards for model year 2012-2025 vehicles. This program allows automakers to design and manufacture to a single target. Last year, the EPA affirmed these standards were appropriate based on an extensive record of data. CARB also affirmed the standards were appropriate and that the federal government should continue to support a single national program for all states.

On April 13, 2018, however, the EPA, without evidence to support the decision, “arbitrarily reversed course” and claimed that the clean car standards for model years 2022-2025 should be scrapped, the governor’s press release says, adding that the federal government offered no evidence to support this decision and the forthcoming rulemaking intended to weaken the existing 2022-2025 standards.

The federal standard the states are suing to protect is estimated to reduce carbon pollution equivalent to 134 coal power plants burning for a year and save drivers $1,650 per vehicle. The car industry is on track to meet or exceed these standards, the governor’s release adds.

“The states joining today’s lawsuit represent 140 million people who simply want cleaner and more efficient cars,” says Brown. “This phalanx of states will defend the nation’s clean car standards to boost gas mileage and curb toxic air pollution.”

Last year, Brown wrote a letter to the U.S. EPA administrator to defend the existing emission standard.

The 18 jurisdictions joining today’s legal action represent approximately 43% of the U.S. automobile market and approximately 140 million people: California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

A copy of the petition for review can be found here.

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