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Court pauses litigation on Trump-California vehicle emissions fight

Court pauses litigation on Trump-California vehicle emissions fight
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A court has paused litigation on whether California can set its own vehicle emissions standards following a request from the Biden administration. 

The federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., on Monday agreed to put a hold on cases on the issue until further notice. It also directed the government to submit status reports on its review of the Trump administration’s rule revoking California’s authority to set its own standards every 90 days. 

Government agencies last week asked the court to pause the litigation, saying that the rule “is under close scrutiny by the Federal Agencies, and the positions taken by the Agencies in this litigation to date may not reflect their ultimate conclusions.”

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The rule, called the “One National Program Rule,” gave the federal government the sole authority to set emissions standards, undercutting the ability of California and 13 other states to make their cars more environmentally friendly. 

After the Biden administration asked the court for the pause last week, a group representing several automakers that had intervened in the case to support the Trump administration said in a statement last week that it would withdraw from the legal battle. 

“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 Coalition for Sustainable Automotive Regulation said. 

Following President Biden’s election, General Motors also withdrew from the suit.

On his first day in office, Biden issued a sweeping executive order that directed federal agencies to review dozens of Trump administration rules that go against the administration goals to “promote and protect our public health and the environment.”