Nearly 140 Democrats urge EPA to 'promptly' allow California to set its own vehicle pollution standards

Nearly 140 Democrats urge EPA to 'promptly' allow California to set its own vehicle pollution standards
© Greg Nash

A group of 139 Democratic lawmakers is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to “promptly” reinstate California’s ability to set its own vehicle emissions standards — which is expected to increase electric vehicle adoption. 

In separate letters to EPA Administrator Michael ReganMichael ReganFormer EPA chief to chair pro-Trump think tank's environmental center Overnight Energy & Environment — Effort to repeal Arctic refuge drilling advances EPA seeks protections for Alaska's Bristol Bay, undercutting mining project MORE on Tuesday, 26 senators and 113 House members urged the swift reversal of the Trump administration’s move to revoke California’s emissions standards waiver, a major climate change rollback. 

“The mounting threats to health and welfare posed by climate change makes the authority of the states to lead more important than ever. It is vital that the waiver be reinstated to allow pioneering states to continue the process of innovation in clean vehicles,” the lawmakers wrote.

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“We urge you to promptly reinstate the waiver,” they added. 

The letters were spearheaded by Sens. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - US speeds evacuations as thousands of Americans remain in Afghanistan Biden finds few Capitol Hill allies amid Afghanistan backlash Trains matter to America MORE (Del.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyWarren, Bush offer bill to give HHS power to impose eviction moratorium Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Senate Democrats ding Biden energy proposal Six Democrats blast Energy Department's uranium reserve pitch MORE (Mass.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate advances Biden consumer bureau pick after panel logjam Republicans caught in California's recall trap F-35 fighter jets may fall behind adversaries, House committee warns MORE (Calif.) and Alex PadillaAlex PadillaDHS secretary condemns treatment of Haitian migrants but says US will ramp up deportations Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Democrats revive filibuster fight over voting rights bill MORE (Calif.) as well as Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyDemocrats seek to cool simmering tensions American workers need us to get this pandemic under control around the world Democrats repeal prohibition on funding abortions abroad MORE (Ill.), Paul TonkoPaul David TonkoManchin puts foot down on key climate provision in spending bill House Democrats outline plan for transition to clean electricity The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Final countdown: Senate inches toward last infrastructure vote MORE (N.Y.), Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiHouse Democrats press leaders to include more funding for electric vehicles in spending plan Lobbying world Nearly 140 Democrats urge EPA to 'promptly' allow California to set its own vehicle pollution standards MORE (Calif.) and Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellDemocrats face full legislative plate and rising tensions Virginia Democrat introduces tax credit for electric commercial vehicles More than 100 Democrats back legislation lowering Medicare eligibility age to 60 MORE (Mich.). 

California’s standards, which have been more stringent than federal standards, have also been adopted by more than a dozen other states. 

Regan has indicated that he supports California’s authority to set its own standards, saying in April that “the 2019 decision to revoke the state’s waiver to enforce its greenhouse gas pollution standards for cars and trucks was legally dubious and an attack on the public’s health and wellbeing.” 

At that time, the agency indicated that it would reconsider the Trump administration’s decision, seeking public comment on whether the waiver withdrawal was appropriate. 

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An agency spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment on the Democrats’ letters. 

The message comes as the EPA is expected to soon take steps to reverse a separate action on vehicle pollution. 

It has indicated that this month it will propose a new rule that reconsiders a Trump action that weakened national vehicle emissions and fuel economy standards. 

As of 2019, the transportation sector was the largest contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.