Federal court dismisses California case challenging Trump car emissions rule

Federal court dismisses California case challenging Trump car emissions rule
© Greg Nash

A federal appeals court on Friday dismissed challenges brought by the state of California against a Trump administration rule on tailpipe pollution standards, arguing the case has no merit because the rule has not yet been finalized.

In a unanimous ruling, all three Obama-appointed judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction “because EPA has not engaged in ‘final action’ under the Clean Air Act.”

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The ruling came after the Golden State sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in February for deciding to make changes to the Obama-era rule, arguing it violated administrative procedure.

The group took issue with then-EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Rate of new endangered species listings falls | EPA approves use of 'cyanide bombs' to protect livestock | Watchdog says EPA didn't conduct required analyses EPA didn't conduct required analyses of truck engine rule: internal watchdog Is Big Oil feeling the heat? MORE's decision to reconsider the regulations during a "midterm evaluation" of the rule. Pruitt deemed the standards set for model year cars from 2022-2025 were no longer appropriate. The state argued the EPA failed to adequately explain and provide detailed analyses backing up the decision to change the regulations.

The suit was one of a series of challenges the state and others have lobbed in the past year against the Trump administration over the car emissions rule.

Most recently, California in September sued the EPA for issuing part of a final rule that removes the state’s ability to establish its own pollution standards.

California has long argued it has the congressional right under the Clean Air Act to establish its own more stringent air pollution standards than federal regulations dictate. California, along with 23 other states, sued the Trump administration over the waiver removal.

The first part of the EPA's rule comes as it is finalizing changes to the federal tailpipe emissions standards. The administration has not yet released the finalized second part of the rule, which will determine the levels of emissions allowable from passenger vehicles, but it’s expected to be less rigorous than the previous rule established under Obama.