CA sues to keep pollution-fighting standards

Monday, September 23, 2019
Chris Woodward (

CA trafficNearly two dozen states are suing the Trump administration in a legal attempt to maintain California's strict auto emissions rules beyond federal standards. 

The federal government is responsible for setting standards but pollution-plagued California has been allowed to set tougher rules since the 1970s, and today 13 other states also follow California’s strict standards.

California’s liberal leaders are suing after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took action last week by withdrawing a Clean Air Act waiver that allowed California to pursue its own tailpipe GHB emission standard and Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandates. The law dates back to 2013.

"This was a move, demonstrable move, to assert power and dominance," Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference last week.

"We cannot afford to backslide in our battle against climate change," added Attorney General Xavier Becerra. "Our communities are screaming for help to address the climate crisis.”

Tom Pyle of the American Energy Alliance says California should not be able to determine what kinds of cars are sold in other states. That, says Pyle, has priced a lot of people out of the vehicle market.

"The average age of the car fleet now is 12 years, which means people are not buying new cars," says Pyle. "A lot of it is because the auto industry has been, by regulation, forced to subsidize or add to the cost of the cars that people are buying."

In a press release posted on the AEA website, the organization says there are "common misconceptions” about what it calls California’s “unlawful waiver” that created tough standards:

*The administration is only withdrawing the Clean Air Act (CAA) waiver for tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions granted by the Obama administration, as well as the related approval of the state's ZEV mandate.

*The administration is not withdrawing the numerous other CAA waivers granted over the decades applying to pollutants or other emissions sources.

AEA goes on to say that this decision is well-grounded in law, and it was the Obama administration's granting of the GHG tailpipe waiver to California that was unlawful.

"I commend President Trump for moving forward with this," says Tom Pyle. "It's a critical fix for a problem that was created by the previous administration."

According to The Associated Press, attorneys general joining California in its lawsuit are from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

The cities of New York and Los Angeles, and the District of Columbia also joined the lawsuit.


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