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 BecerraCalifornia to sue Trump over border wall emergency declaration Overnight Energy: Court rules for Trump in environmental case over border wall | House bill would stop Alaska refuge drilling | Ads target Dems over Green New Deal Appeals court sides with Trump in border wall prototype dispute 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: EPA to make formal decision on regulating drinking water contaminant | Utility to close coal plant despite Trump plea | Greens say climate is high on 2020 voters’ minds EPA to announce PFAS chemical regulation plans by end of year Court tosses challenge to EPA's exclusion of certain scientists from advisory boards 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 FeinsteinFeinstein says she thinks Biden will run after meeting with him Trump judicial nominee Neomi Rao seeks to clarify past remarks on date rape Bottom Line 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.