Red states defend Trump rollback of Calif. emissions waiver

Source: By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Top attorneys from nine states including Alabama and Texas filed a motion to intervene yesterday in a legal challenge brought against the administration by California and other Democratic states. They argued that it’s unconstitutional for a single state to set what amount to national emissions standards.

“Our Constitution creates a federalist framework in which all States are equal and none is more equal than others,” the Republicans wrote in their brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

“The Clean Air Act disregards that design,” they continued. “It allows the EPA to give California, and only California, a waiver empowering it to set vehicle-emissions standards more stringent than those imposed by the federal government.”

States and green groups challenged the administration’s 2019 rollback, which takes away California’s long-standing ability to set its own limits on tailpipe emissions.

The rollback was the first prong of President Trump’s “Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule,” which critics say violates the Administrative Procedure Act. EPA justified the revocation by invoking National Highway Traffic Safety Administration preemption rules.

Government attorneys told judges overseeing the case earlier this month that scrapping the waiver would establish national, cohesive standards on emissions that aren’t governed by a single state (Greenwire, Sept. 10).