Attorney Generals from 17 states have asked the Federal Court of Appeals to reconsider the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision allowing California to set its own vehicle emission standards.
The policy was influenced by President Trump and was restored by the Biden administration earlier this year.
California’s automobile emission standards are among the most stringent in the country, and 17 Republican Attorney Generals argue that the EPA’s decision to let the Golden State set its own rules has forced the rest of the country to follow suit. The state first developed the standard in 2004, but implementation of the standard was banned until 2009, when the EPA gave California the power to impose strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles and trucks.
Missouri, Ohio, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia filed petitions with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. , DC They argue that the EPA’s decision will require all states to adopt California’s stringent vehicle emission standards for all new vehicles under the power of the Clean Air Act.
West Virginia Atty said, “This measure leaves California with a portion of the sovereignty that Congress withdraws from all other states. General Patrick Morrissey of Virginia said in his statement:
Missouri Atty. General Eric Schmitt said in his statement that if California were allowed to set a national standard, manufacturing would be “astronomically expensive and the extra cost would be passed on to consumers.” He added that Golden State’s standards were “oppressive.”
EPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the petition submitted on Thursday. The document cites a March 2022 decision by EPA Administrator Michael Regan that gave California the ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles under the state’s Advanced Clean Cars program.
California first negotiated stricter emission standards with Congress during the passage of the Clean Air Act of 1970. The state has a carve-out agreement under the Clean Air Act, but requires EPA waivers each year. The 2009 update restores a 40-year interpretation of the legislation repealed by the Bush administration and restored by the Obama administration.
In 2019, the EPA threatened to cut federal transportation funds to California for failing to submit a timely pollution control plan. A blatant feud between the state and the Trump administration appeared to have reached its peak after California secretly negotiated a deal with the four major automakers to voluntarily comply with the state’s emissions regulations and boost fuel economy.
At the time, the EPA withdrew a decades-old rule that allowed California to set stricter automobile emission standards than federal regulators require. After the exemption was revoked, California sued the federal government, alleging that stricter standards were needed to improve the state’s air quality.
Three years later, in 2022, under the Biden administration, the EPA overturned California’s hostile stance on automobile emission standards and restored exemptions under the Air Cleanliness Act. A number of Attorney Generals, including many states that joined the recent petition, have argued that special treatment in California is unconstitutional.
In March, Washington’s Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican House Energy and Commerce Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said, “President Biden’s stringent automotive emissions regulations are another example of this administration’s move ahead of restoration of a drastic green regulatory regime. “America’s energy dominance and leadership.”
Times reporter Russ Mitchell contributed to this story.