California clean air law waiver targeted in new lawsuit | Goldberg Segalla

Ohio, along with sixteen other states, sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday last week, over its March 14, 2022 decision to reinstate a waiver allowing the most populous state of California, in the under its Advanced Clean Cars program, to adopt stricter vehicle emission standards. than those set by the federal government.[1][2]

In 1966, California enacted the nation’s first exhaust emission standards in light of its then serious pollution problems. This was followed in 1970 by the creation of the Clean Air Act, which gave California a waiver to set its own stricter-than-federal exhaust emissions rules. Since 1970, California’s waiver had been renewed more than 100 times. In addition to California, eighteen other states and the District of Columbia have created their own exhaust emission and fuel efficiency standards rather than adopting federal government standards.

In 2019, President Donald Trump’s administration revoked California’s waiver, arguing it would allow automakers to produce much cheaper cars. Several major automakers, including General Motors, Toyota, Fiat and Chrysler, applauded President Trump’s revocation of the California waiver.

Unsurprisingly given California’s status as the most populous state, it regularly accounts for the vast majority of all new car sales in the United States, giving it considerable power in the domestic auto market in forcing automakers to design and manufacture vehicles that must meet California’s tougher regulations. According to the lawsuit filed by these seventeen states, this treatment is unfair to their non-California residents, who wish to purchase a new vehicle outside of California. “The law simply leaves California with a portion of its sovereign authority that Congress takes away from all other states,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a statement to the Hill.[3] “The EPA cannot selectively waive the [Clean Air] Act’s preemption for California only because this patronage violates the equal sovereignty of the States.

Led by Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, the group filed a lawsuit in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, arguing that the waiver violates the US Constitution, which treats all states equally. [4] Plaintiff states include Ohio, Utah, South Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia, West Virginia, Texas, Mississippi, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska , Montana, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Alabama.

“If California is able to set restrictive ‘gas emissions’ standards, manufacturing becomes astronomically expensive and those additional costs are passed on to consumers, many of whom are Missourians,” the Republican Missouri Attorney General said. , Eric Schmitt (R), who joined the lawsuit. .

The EPA, unsurprisingly, has yet to comment on this ongoing litigation. However, in March 2022, EPA Administrator Michael Regan, who is also named in the lawsuit, said the decision to reinstate California’s waiver was to “proudly reaffirm the long-standing authority of the California to lead the fight against car and truck pollution.” He said the approach “for years has helped advance clean technology and reduce air pollution for people not just in California, but for the entire United States.”[5]

[1] https://www.epa.gov/regulations-emissions-vehicles-and-engines/notice-decision-reconsideration-previous-withdrawal

[2] https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2022-03-14/pdf/2022-05227.pdf

[3] https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/3487755-seventeen-states-sue-epa-for-letting-california-set-vehicle-standards/

[4] https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/seventeen-states-lawsuit-against-epa-for-granting-california-vehicle-emission-regulation-authority.pdf

[5] https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-restores-californias-authority-enforce-greenhouse-gas-emission-standards-cars-and#:~:text=News%20Releases%3A-,EPA%20Restores% 20Authority%20%20of%20California%20to%20enforce%20Greenhouse%20Gas,for%20Cars%20and%20Light%20Trucks&text=WASHINGTON%20(Mars%209%2C%202022),vehicle%20(ZEV)%20sales% 20mandate.

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