California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, backed by top legal officials representing more than two dozen cities and states, sued the Trump administration Friday for revoking the Golden State’s authority to set its own greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and trucks.
“Instead of thwarting states’ efforts to limit global warming pollution, the federal government should be making it easier to fight this existential crisis. Or even better, we should institute stronger national standards so states don’t have to devise their own.”
—Morgan Folger, Environment America
The Environmental Protection Agency, under the Obama administration, issued a waiver in 2013 that allowed California to develop state emissions standards that are stricter than federal ones. California’s standards have since been adopted in whole or part by several other states and the District of Columbia.
“Over the past 50 years, the EPA has granted 100 waivers to California,” according to Becerra’s office. “Thanks to California’s vehicle emissions program, the state has reduced emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons annually, encouraged the development of emission controls technologies, and paved the way for stronger federal standards.”
While President Donald Trump was fundraising in California on Wednesday, he tweeted about revoking California’s waiver. The administration finalized that move on Thursday and unveiled its “One National Program Rule.”
The new lawsuit (pdf), filed in the U.S. District Court for D.C., challenges the Trump administration’s attempt to kill the stricter standards and replace them with a new emissions rule jointly drafted by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency under the Department of Transportation.
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“Two courts have already upheld California’s emissions standards, rejecting the argument the Trump administration resurrects to justify its misguided Preemption Rule. Yet, the administration insists on attacking the authority of California and other states to tackle air pollution and protect public health,” Becerra said in a statement.
“The Oval Office is really not a place for on-the-job training,” Becerra added. “President Trump should have at least read the instruction manual he inherited when he assumed the presidency, in particular the chapter on respecting the Rule of Law. Mr. President, we’ll see you in court.”
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