Trump DOJ asks court to toss suit over Calif. dispute

Source: By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Trump administration’s Department of Justice is asking a court to toss a lawsuit over its proposed preemption of California’s clean cars program.

In a motion filed today, DOJ lawyers asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to dismiss the suit brought by California and environmental groups.

“Complaints should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction,” states the motion, which was signed by Jeffrey Bossert Clark, head of DOJ’s environment division.

At issue is a lawsuit filed last month by California and environmental groups including the Environmental Defense Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council.

The suit takes aim at the Trump administration’s proposal to block California from setting its own greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars.

In particular, it challenges the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s argument that California is preempted from setting the standards by the 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

In the absence of dismissing the suit, the DOJ lawyers asked that the case be transferred to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

“Jurisdiction over challenges to NHTSA’s rulemaking — including jurisdiction to determine whether NHTSA has the statutory authority claimed — lies exclusively in the courts of appeal,” they wrote.