23 states join Calif. legal battle against EPA

Source: By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter • Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) is leading another legal battle to protect his state’s vehicle emissions standards, this time against EPA.

Becerra, a coalition of 23 other state attorneys general and two cities filed a lawsuit today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging EPA’s move to scrap a waiver that allows the Golden State to set its own greenhouse gas and zero-emission vehicle standards.

“We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: California will not back down when it comes to protecting our people, our health, and our environment from preventable pollution,” Becerra said in a statement about the suit. “The Trump Administration, on the other hand, has chosen to side with polluters. We believe we’re on the right side of history.”

The lawsuit is part of a chorus of other legal fights brought by environmental groups and states against Trump administration-led efforts to roll back California’s historic privileges to set its own emission standards — standards that 13 other states have also signed on to.

The question over California’s waiver has also split the industry. While some automakers threw their support behind the Trump administration, others balk at the idea of regulatory uncertainty.

States and greens also have multiple suits pending against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over its move to preempt California’s waiver through the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

As part of this latest lawsuit, the states also filed a petition asking the D.C. Circuit to review a separate waiver preemption rule from NHTSA. The petition was filed in case the states’ other NHTSA lawsuit — at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia — is scrapped.