Trump administration officially revokes California tailpipe emissions waiver

The Trump administration on Thursday officially revoked California's tailpipe waiver under the Clean Air Act, a decision likely to face quick legal challenges.

The Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled the “One National Program Rule,” giving the federal government sole authority to set emission standards for cars.

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The rule is part of the administration's Safer, Affordable, Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule, a draft of which was submitted to the White House in August.

The second part of the rule will include a final decision over what fuel efficiency levels to set emissions at starting in 2025.

Revoking California's waiver will also affect 13 other states that adopt California’s tougher emissions standards.

“One national standard provides much-needed regulatory certainty for the automotive industry and sets the stage for the Trump Administration’s final SAFE rule that will save lives and promote economic growth by reducing the price of new vehicles to help more Americans purchase newer, cleaner, and safer cars and trucks," EPA Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerEPA to resume contract negotiations with employee union Overnight Energy: Critics call EPA air guidance 'an industry dream' | New Energy secretary says Trump wants to boost coal | EPA looks to speed approval of disputed industry pollution permits Latest EPA guidance weakens air protections in favor of industry, critics say MORE said in a statement.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech MORE on Wednesday tweeted that the waiver would be revoked while he was fundraising in California.

California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraCalifornia recovers M from auto parts makers' in bid rigging settlement Adam Schiff's star rises with impeachment hearings Facebook unveils market research app that pays users to take surveys MORE (D) has threatened to sue the administration if it moved to revoke the state's waiver. The state has relied on the waiver process to set their own tougher emissions standards for about 50 years. 

“There's no question, of course, that we will be in court," California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols said in a press conference Wednesday.

“This is the fight of a lifetime. We have to win this,” she added.

California sees the waiver as an important states' rights battle. The state says tougher emissions standards are necessary to fight climate change and reduce air pollution.

Rebecca Beitsch contributed reporting.