California is leading a 17-state coalition to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to “preserve the nation’s single vehicle emission standard.” Washington, D.C. joins the 17 states in suing the EPA as well.
“The states joining today’s lawsuit represent 140 million people who simply want cleaner and more efficient cars,” said California Gov. Edmund G. Brown. “This phalanx of states will defend the nation’s clean car standards to boost gas mileage and curb toxic air pollution.”
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, seeks to “set aside and hold unlawful the U.S. EPA’s effort to weaken the existing clean car rules,” according to the coalition. “The lawsuit is based on the fact that the U.S. EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously failed to follow its own regulations and violated the Clean Air Act.”
The states named on the lawsuit include Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
“The evidence is irrefutable: today’s clean car standards are achievable, science-based and a boon for hardworking American families. But the EPA and Administrator Scott Pruitt refuse to do their job and enforce these standards,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “Enough is enough. We’re not looking to pick a fight with the Trump Administration, but when the stakes are this high for our families’ health and our economic prosperity, we have a responsibility to do what is necessary to defend them.”
“The standards we are fighting to protect were adopted in 2012 and don’t take effect until 2022. They were a lifeline thrown to an industry that was in trouble and desperate for stability. They were based on the best judgment of engineers about what technology could achieve. And in fact they are being achieved today, years ahead of the deadlines, because of the good work of the auto industry,” said California Air Resources Board Chair Mary D. Nichols. “But now Administrator Pruitt, based on no new information or facts, wants to roll back all that progress in the name of deregulation. The Final Determination is just the first step but it is intended to provide the legal basis for a decision that has already been made: to halt the progress that regulators and industry have made toward a new generation of vehicles. It does not withstand scrutiny and it will not stand.”
Beginning in 2010, the EPA, NHTSA and CARB established a single national program of greenhouse gas emissions standards for model year 2012-2025 vehicles. Last year, the U.S. EPA affirmed the standards were appropriate based on an extensive record of data. The EPA on April 13 stated that those standards need revision.
The 17 states and Washington, D.C. suing the EPA represent approximately 43 percent of the U.S. automobile market, according to the group.