Md., 22 Other States Suing Trump Administration Over Auto Emissi - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Md., 22 Other States Sue Trump Administration to Keep California's Auto Emission Rules

Posted: Updated:
(Photo: MGN Online) (Photo: MGN Online)

BALTIMORE- Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh on Friday joined a coalition of attorneys general in filing a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s move to revoke Calfornia's authority to set emission standards for cars and trucks.

According to Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, these standards— authorized in 2013 by a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency and followed in part or whole by 13 other states, including Maryland, and the District of Columbia — are a key part of state efforts to protect public health and the environment. In the lawsuit, the coalition asserts that this Preemption Rule is unlawful and should be vacated.

“Reversing course in the country’s efforts to reduce air pollution from passenger vehicles is unlawful, irresponsible, and endangers the health of our children and our environment,” said Frosh.  “Wiping out these common sense standards undermines successful efforts made by states, including Maryland, to combat greenhouse gas emissions.”

Under the federal Clean Air Act, California may apply for a waiver from EPA to set its own vehicle emissions standards that are at least as protective as the federal government’s standards, and EPA must approve the waiver, unless it makes certain findings.  Over the past 50 years, the EPA has granted 100 waivers to California. Frosh that as a result of California’s vehicle emissions program, the state and others who have adopted the standards have reduced emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons annually, encouraged the development of emission controls technologies, and paved the way for stronger federal standards.

In January 2012, California adopted its comprehensive Advanced Clean Cars Program for cars and light duty trucks in model years 2017 through 2025.  The program combines the control of smog-causing pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions into a single coordinated package.  The program improves air quality and curbs greenhouse gases while saving drivers money at the pump and reducing oil consumption.  On its own, the California program would reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the state by approximately 14.4 million metric tons a year by 2025 and 25.2 million metric tons a year by 2030. When accounting for emissions savings from other states including Maryland that have adopted California’s standards, these emission reductions nearly triple, Frosh said. 

Frosh said that through its Preemption Regulation, NHTSA is attempting to declare the California greenhouse gas and ZEV standards preempted under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, based on arguments repeatedly rejected by multiple courts.  In doing so, NHTSA oversteps the authority granted to it by Congress and ignores Congress’s careful and repeated preservation of California’s authority, the lawsuit alleges. 

In the lawsuit, the attorneys general ask the court to strike down the regulation as unlawful on the basis that NHTSA:

  • Purports to exercise authority that Congress has not granted the agency: namely, to decree what EPCA does or does not preempt;
  • Imagines an inherent conflict between two sets of rules, California’s GHG and ZEV standards and NHTSA’s fuel economy standards, that have co-existed for years;
  • Willfully misreads EPCA as preempting state emission standards it explicitly directed NHTSA to account for, and as implicitly repealing portions of the Clean Air Act;
  • Ignores the authority and intent of Congress, which has repeatedly reaffirmed and embraced California’s authority over the last four decades;
  • Flouts the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to assess or analyze the damage that the agency’s Preemption Rule will inflict on the environment and public health;
  • Acts arbitrarily and capriciously by failing to explain about-faces from its previous positions or its reasons for acting;
  • Fails to respect states’ authority to protect public health and welfare; and,
  • Disregards the role these standards play in helping California and other states meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices