RICHMOND (September 18, 2019)—Attorney General Mark R. Herring today vowed to fight the Trump Administration’s unprecedented effort to block state-level action to reduce air pollution from cars and encourage the development of clean car technology and jobs.
The EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) under President Trump have announced a plan to revoke California’s authority to establish vehicle pollution standards that meet its needs. These standards, which have been adopted at least in part by thirteen other states and the District of Columbia, are vital to curbing pollution and addressing air quality issues and the climate crisis, especially in light of the Trump Administration’s efforts to weaken federal vehicle pollution standards. In May 2018, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues sued Trump’s EPA for attempting to gut the federal Clean Car standards.
“President Trump’s obsession with climate change denial is now trampling all over the ability of states to effectively address this crisis,” said Attorney General Herring. “Effective, broadly-shared pollution standards that are based in science will lead to cleaner vehicles, cleaner air, savings at the gas pumps, predictability for auto manufacturers, and healthier Americans. It’s good for everyone except oil companies, which is why President Trump and his allies are trying to throw up roadblocks and trample on states’ authority.”
Under the federal Clean Air Act, California may set its own vehicle emissions standards that are at least as protective as the federal government’s standards. California retains this authority in order to address the extraordinary and compelling air pollution issues affecting the state, and other states may also choose to adopt these standards.
California’s standards have proven remarkably effective, reducing air pollution by hundreds of thousands of tons annually, encouraging the development of pollution controls technologies, and contributing to stronger federal standards.
In attempting to justify the unprecedented revocation of California’s ability to set its own pollution standards, the Trump Administration is using a tired and unsuccessful argument that such authority is preempted by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. This argument has been rejected by Congress, the courts, and by the EPA itself.
Attorney General Herring is part of a coalition opposing President Trump’s plan and any weakening of the Clean Car Standards The coalition stands strong to defend our nation’s Clean Car Standards as well as California’s strict limits on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions and its Zero Emission Vehicles program, both of which protect the health and safety of its residents.