AGs, mayors blast Pruitt’s rollback of standards

Source: Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Attorneys general from 12 states and mayors from 45 cities issued a declaration this afternoon opposing the Trump administration’s decision to revise fuel economy standards.

“As U.S. attorneys general, mayors and county executives, we — not federal officials in Washington, D.C. — are primarily responsible for the transportation systems upon which our residents and our local and regional economies depend,” they wrote.

“A clean, efficient and high-performance vehicle fleet is an essential component of these systems,” they said.

The declarationcomes after U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt this morning touted his decision to revise the fuel economy rules for cars and light trucks made from 2022 to 2025 (Greenwire, April 3).

The attorneys general and mayors noted that California has a waiver under the Clean Air Act to set its own, more stringent fuel economy standards. Twelve states and the District of Columbia have signed on to California’s standards, representing about 40 percent of new vehicles sold in the country.

EPA said in a press releaseyesterday that California’s waiver was being “reexamined.” Any attempt to revoke the waiver would set up a fierce legal clash with California and the other states that follow its standards.

The attorneys general and mayors said they were ready for such a fight, although not all of them hail from states that have signed on to California’s standards.

“Given our responsibilities to our citizens, we also strongly oppose and will vigorously resist any effort by the administration to prevent states from enforcing reasonable, commonsense emissions performance standards for vehicle fleets sold in their jurisdictions,” they wrote.

“Such standards are particularly appropriate given the serious public health impacts of air pollution in our cities and states and the severe impacts posed by climate change, including recent storms, droughts, floods and fires that have hit multiple regions of the U.S. in just the past few years,” they said.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said yesterday he’s prepared to sue if EPA revokes the state’s waiver.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan (D) said in a separate statement today, “These standards are key points in the fight against climate change. They help save consumers money on fuel. For years, Vermont has been a leader on motor vehicle emission standards and let me be clear: Vermont is going to stay committed to clean air and we will take necessary steps to fight this rollback.”

Signing the declaration were attorneys general from Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia.

The mayors represented cities across the country, including metropolises such as Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Philadelphia.