California Spearheads Attack on EPA Attempt to Weaken Emissions Standards

Joined by 16 other states and the District of Columbia, the State of California has filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in an effort to prevent the federal agency from loosening its rules on auto emissions. The lawsuit argues both that the agency is violating the Clean Air Act through its proposed rule changes and that it is failing to follow its own regulations. Some observers believe that the agency’s action might be a first step toward revoking the right of California and other states to set their own rules regarding auto emissions, which are believed to affect the proliferation of greenhouse gases and the process of global warming.

California had planned to harmonize its rules with EPA regulations under the Obama administration, which had implemented more stringent controls on auto emissions. The Trump administration decided to revisit these rules following a visit to the White House from automaker executives, who argued that the Obama rules were unreasonably strict. (However, some automakers reportedly are concerned that the Trump administration is going too far, loosening the regulations well beyond what they originally requested.) The new rules would take effect in 2020. California is joined in the lawsuit by 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 group of states that accounts for more than 40 percent of the auto market in the United States.

You can read the court filing on the Justia site here.