17 states sue Trump administration over rolling back vehicle emission standards

17 states sue Trump administration over rolling back vehicle emission standards
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California, 16 states and the District of Columbia are suing the Trump administration over its decision to roll back vehicle fuel efficiency standards.

California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraJudge dismisses most of Trump administration lawsuit over California immigration laws Overnight Health Care: Trump officials want more time to reunite families | Washington braces for Supreme Court pick | Nebraska could be next state to vote on Medicaid expansion Judge rejects Trump administration's request to block California sanctuary laws MORE (D) said the Environmental Protection Agency violated the Administrative Procedures Act, which bars against arbitrary and capricious decisions, and violated the Clean Air Act last month when it withdrew the greenhouse gas standard and the related Department of Transportation efficiency standards for model year 2022 through 2025 light-duty vehicles.

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Becerra’s office said the federal standard that states are suing to protect was estimated to reduce carbon pollution equivalent to 134 coal power plants burning for a year and to save drivers $1,650 per vehicle.

The states argue the EPA did not give evidence to support its decision to weaken the rule and they are now asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review its decision.

“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 PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Court rejects new effort to stop kids' climate lawsuit | Baltimore is latest city to sue over climate change | EPA staffers worried about toxic chemical in Pruitt's desk Pruitt staffers worried about toxic chemical in his desk Andrew Wheeler must reverse damage to American heartland MORE refuse to do their job and enforce these standards,” Becerra said in a statement.

“Enough is enough," he continued. "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 EPA said in April that the standards are too restrictive and should be revised.

“Based on our review and analysis of the comments and information submitted, and EPA’s own analysis, the Administrator believes that the current GHG emission standards for MY 2022–2025 light-duty vehicles presents challenges for auto manufacturers due to feasibility and practicability, raises potential concerns related to automobile safety and results in significant additional costs on consumers, especially low-income consumers,” the EPA said in a notice in the Federal Register last month. 

In addition to California and D.C., Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Minnesota joined the lawsuit.

In a statement Tuesday, Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight Senate GOP breaks record on confirming Trump picks for key court Deal to fix family separations hits snag in the Senate MORE (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, backed the states.

The Trump administration cannot ignore the science and the law," she said. "If the administration continues down this path to weaken the fuel economy standards set in conjunction with California, they’ll be inviting additional lawsuits.

She said a 1,200-page technical analysis found the current standards were working and at a much lower cost for the car manufacturers.

"There simply is no acceptable justification for throwing the analysis out in order to roll back the standards,” she said.

The multistate suit was filed Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

-Updated 2 p.m.