California to sue Trump administration over car emission rollback

California to sue Trump administration over car emission rollback
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California's Attorney General is preparing a lawsuit against the Trump administration's proposal to dramatically roll back Obama-era vehicle emissions standards.

If adopted, the Administration's proposal would prevent the Golden State and the 12 other states that follow its standards, from setting their own more stringent standard. 

Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas Trump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Judge rules against DeVos rollback of Obama-era student loan regulations MORE intends to file a lawsuit in conjunction with 19 other state Attorney Generals, against the administration, a spokesperson for Becerra told The Hill. Other states joining the suit include Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

On a call with reporters Thursday afternoon Becerra referenced the current wildfires blazing through California as proof that air pollution is already taking its toll.

"The pollution were all seeing, certainly here in la we see it everyday, that pollution if fueling the death and destruction," he said.

"We have lead from the very beginning, and we will lead again when it comes to protecting the national standards for cleaner cars."

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The legal tussle comes after the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation announced on Thursday a proposal by the Trump administration to cap fuel efficiency standards at 2020 levels.

The Obama administration had previously worked with California as well as automakers to determine a fuel efficiency plan that would appeal to the state, which has authority under the Clean Air Act to set more stringent vehicle emission standards due to its heavy air pollution.

However, representatives of the Trump administration Thursday denounced California's right to determine its own standards, arguing that greenhouse gases--which cause climate change not smog--do not disproportionately affect the state and therefore it should not have authority to regulate it more strictly.

But the Attorneys General representing states who utilize California's standard object to the administrations new proposal, arguing it is not based in science.

"It's insane to make cars less efficient-- the devastating impact this is going to have on public health," said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on the call.

"We in the state have an obligation and legal duty to put stronger limits in place, and now amazingly the Trump administration is trying to revoke that authority, that is wrong. It’s against science. Its’ against public health. It doesn’t purport with the data and we think it’s unlawful. And we are fighting back."

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey called the proposed rule "one of the most harmful and dumbest actions that EPA has taken."

"Why is the EPA doing this? Why is the EPA taking this totally stupid action in the face of widespread support? I think unfortunately we know the reason," she said. "It's because right now the EPA has handed decision making over to the fossil fuel lobbyists like new EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, all the while sticking it to the American people."

The Attorneys General said they would wait until after the 60 day comment period on the proposed rule closed to file a formal lawsuit.