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Automakers withdraw from litigation over California vehicle emissions standard

Automakers withdraw from litigation over California vehicle emissions standard
© Greg Nash

A group representing several automakers including Toyota, Hyundai and Fiat Chrysler is exiting a legal fight over whether California can set its own vehicle emissions standards, the group said Tuesday. 

The Coalition for Sustainable Automotive Regulation (CSAR), which had sided with the Trump administration in its battle against California, reiterated its support for having just one nationwide emissions standard, but said it was leaving the litigation “in a gesture of good faith.”

“In a gesture of good faith and to find a constructive path forward, the CSAR has decided to withdraw from this lawsuit in order to unify the auto industry behind a single national program, with ambitious, achievable standards,” the CSAR said in a statement.

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The move comes just one day after the Biden administration requested a pause in the litigation, in which the automakers had intervened to support the federal government’s move to block California from setting tighter standards. 

The administration had identified the Trump administration’s move as one it would seek to review and potentially reverse course on. 

CSAR’s move also follows the lead of General Motors, which was also initially on the side of the Trump administration but exited in November following Biden’s election victory. 

Other automakers represented by CSAR include Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Subaru, according to its website. 

Environmentalists celebrated the news of the automakers’ exit, but also called for more action. 

"Today’s announcement is a win for the hundreds of thousands of activists,” said a statement from Katherine Garcia, the deputy director of national policies for Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign. 

“Automakers peeling off like dominos from Trump’s misguided and dangerous lawsuits don’t deserve praise for doing the bare minimum,” Garcia added. “All automakers must support strong federal clean car standards beyond what the Trump Administration rolled back.”

Prior to the Trump administration’s rule, California had for decades been given waivers so that it could set tighter emissions standards.