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 ReganOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Methane fee faces negotiations EPA finds chemical contaminating NC river more toxic than previously assessed Does the UN climate summit matter? 5 reasons why it does 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 CarperBiden administration pushing to include IRS proposal in spending bill despite criticism As clock ticks down, Manchin is the vote to get on spending plan Democrats say they have path to deal on climate provisions in spending bill MORE (Del.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Democrats prepare to grill oil execs Merkley, Warren and Markey sound alarm over 'dirty' hydrogen provision in climate deal Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Dems see path to deal on climate provisions MORE (Mass.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel Feinstein Ban on new offshore drilling must stay in the Build Back Better Act Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair Jane Fonda to push for end to offshore oil drilling in California MORE (Calif.) and Alex PadillaAlex PadillaSenate Democrats call for diversity among new Federal Reserve Bank presidents GOP blocks Senate Democrats' revised elections bill Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program MORE (Calif.) as well as Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Democrats prepare to grill oil execs Merkley, Warren and Markey sound alarm over 'dirty' hydrogen provision in climate deal Overnight Health Care — Presented by The National Council for Mental Wellbeing — FDA panel advises Moderna booster shot for high-risk people MORE (Ill.), Paul TonkoPaul David TonkoUsing shared principles to guide our global and national energy policy WHIP LIST: How House Democrats, Republicans say they'll vote on infrastructure bill Manchin puts foot down on key climate provision in spending bill MORE (N.Y.), Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiOvernight Health Care — Presented by The National Council for Mental Wellbeing — FDA panel advises Moderna booster shot for high-risk people Hillicon Valley — Presented by American Edge Project — Americans blame politicians, social media for spread of misinformation: poll Biden signs bill to strengthen K-12 school cybersecurity MORE (Calif.) and Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellWhich proposals will survive in the Democrats' spending plan? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Democrats see light at end of tunnel on Biden agenda 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. 

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.