Trump gains allies in his fight with Calif.

Source: By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter • Posted: Sunday, December 1, 2019

A group of 13 states yesterday stepped into the clean cars fight on the side of the Trump administration, throwing their weight behind a proposal that would scrap California’s ability to set its own tailpipe emission standards.

The states’ motion to intervene — filed at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — claims that California’s waiver and its role in setting auto standards nationwide unlawfully puts the Golden State on a pedestal.

“In our Republic, no State is more equal than others,” the motion said. “Allowing California alone to evade otherwise preemptive law upsets that balance, and the Intervening States have an interest in recalibrating it.”

The states also argue that overriding the California waiver would lower car prices, increase the quality of manufacturing and save jobs in the industry.

Led by Ohio and joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia, the states filed their motion to intervene in the recently consolidated D.C. Circuit case brought by other states, environmental groups and local air regulators against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Another legal front against NHTSA is currently being waged at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

At issue is an EPA-granted Clean Air Act waiver, solely granted to California, that allows the nation’s most populous state to set its own greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles. Other states are also permitted to opt in to California’s stricter standards.

The Trump administration moved to toss the waiver, and NHTSA, which is part of the Transportation Department, invoked the 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act to preempt the Golden State waiver.

Critics said that rescinding California’s standards would hurt efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions nationally, and some automakers are concerned about the regulatory uncertainty the revocation would cause.

Other car manufacturers, states and industry groups have sided with the government.