Lawsuit is 60th filed by Attorney General Becerra against the Trump Administration
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today, with Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Air Resources Board, led a coalition of 24 attorneys general and the cities of Los Angeles and New York in filing a lawsuit against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The lawsuit challenges the Trump Administration’s regulation designed to preempt California’s greenhouse gas emissions and Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) standards, also known as California’s Advanced Clean Car Standards. These standards — authorized in 2013 by a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and followed, in whole or part, by 13 other states and the District of Columbia — are a key part of state efforts to protect public health and the environment. In the lawsuit, the coalition asserts that this Preemption Rule is unlawful and should be vacated.
“Two courts have already upheld California’s emissions standards, rejecting the argument the Trump Administration resurrects to justify its misguided Preemption Rule. Yet, the Administration insists on attacking the authority of California and other states to tackle air pollution and protect public health,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The Oval Office is really not a place for on-the-job training. President Trump should have at least read the instruction manual he inherited when he assumed the Presidency, in particular the chapter on respecting the Rule of Law. Mr. President, we’ll see you in court.”
“California won’t bend to the President’s reckless and politically motivated attacks on our clean car waiver,” said Governor Newsom. “We’ll hold the line in court to defend our children’s health, save consumers money at the pump and protect our environment."
"I started my career litigating to clean up the air in California with one of the first Clean Air Act cases ever filed," said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. "I won then and we will win now. We are ready to keep fighting to protect our people and our planet."
Under the federal Clean Air Act, California may apply for a waiver from EPA to set its own vehicle emissions standards that are at least as protective as the federal government’s standards, and EPA must approve the waiver, unless it makes certain findings. Over the past 50 years, the EPA has granted 100 waivers to California. Thanks to California’s vehicle emissions program, the state has reduced emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons annually, encouraged the development of emission controls technologies, and paved the way for stronger federal standards.
In January 2012, California adopted its comprehensive Advanced Clean Cars Program for cars and light duty trucks in model years 2017 through 2025. The program combines the control of smog-causing pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions into a single coordinated package. The program improves air quality and curbs greenhouse gases while saving drivers money at the pump. On its own, the California program would reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the state by approximately 14.4 million metric tons a year by 2025 and 25.2 million metric tons a year by 2030. When accounting for emissions savings from other states that have adopted California’s standards, these emission reductions nearly triple.
Through its unlawful Preemption Rule, NHTSA is attempting to declare the California greenhouse gas and ZEV standards preempted under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), based on arguments repeatedly rejected by multiple courts. In doing so, NHTSA oversteps the authority granted to it by Congress and ignores Congress’s careful and repeated preservation of California’s authority.
In the lawsuit, California asks the court to strike down the regulation as unlawful on the basis that NHTSA:
Attorney General Becerra leads the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia; as well as the cities of Los Angeles and New York.
A copy of the complaint can be found attached to electronic version of this release here.