16 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have formally taken steps to sue the Trump administration over recent decisions to deregulate vehicle fuel efficiency standards.
On Tuesday, California Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that their state would be joining with 16 others and D.C. to launch a joint effort to defend Obama-era fuel efficiency standards.
Becerra argued that the EPA violated the Administrative Procedures Act, an effort by the Obama administration that sought to mitigate “arbitrary and capricious decisions.” Compounding this, the attorney general also argued that the agency violated the Clean Air Act when it withdrew the greenhouse gas standard and relevant Department of Transportation efficiency standards for the model years 2022 through 2025 on light-duty vehicles.
The federal standards described above were estimated to reduce carbon pollution by a number equivalent to the pollution produced by 134 coal power plants burning continuously for a year.
The regulations would also save drivers approximately $1,600 per vehicle per year.
The band of states has claimed the EPA had not given sufficient evidence to support its decisions to soften regulation standards.
“The evidence is irrefutable: today’s clean car standards are achievable, science-based and a boon for hardworking American families. But the EPA and Administrator Scott Pruitt refuse to do their job and enforce these standards,” Becerra said in a statement.
“Enough is enough,” he added. “We’re not looking to pick a fight with the Trump administration, but when the stakes are this high for our families’ health and our economic prosperity, we have a responsibility to do what is necessary to defend them.”
The legal efforts against the EPA include Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Minnesota.
The legal action has been presented before the U.S. Court of Appels for the D.C. Circuit to review the EPA's decisions.
“The Trump administration cannot ignore the science and the law,” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) said. “If the administration continues down this path to weaken the fuel economy standards set in conjunction with California, they’ll be inviting additional lawsuits.”
The union of the states in action against the EPA followed statements by the agency in April that argued that current standards are too restrictive.
“Based on our review and analysis of the comments and information submitted, and EPA’s own analysis, the Administrator believes that the current GHG emission standards for MY 2022–2025 light-duty vehicles presents challenges for auto manufacturers due to feasibility and practicability, raises potential concerns related to automobile safety and results in significant additional costs on consumers, especially low-income consumers,” the agency stated in a notice in the Federal Register last month.
H/T: The Hill