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A U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that the state of California can continue to pass air pollution standards that are stricter than federal law. The court blocked a legal challenge to California's ability to manage air pollution standards when it ruled that the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce did not have legal standing in the case.
California is able to request waivers of federal standards in order to enact its own, stricter laws under the 1970 Clean Air Act. This is a right granted to California because it had its own pollution laws before the federal government enacted theirs.
The three-judge panel of the Washington, D.C., Circuit court found that neither the NADA, nor the Chamber could identify any party that was or could be injured by California’s ability to waive federal standards so it can enact its own.
The U.S. Chamber and the auto dealers association have long opposed efforts to curb greenhouse gases from cars and other sources over fears it could harm the economy. The NADA has expressed concern that there are three, overlapping sets of regulations governing fuel economy standards: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and California. It fears that automakers will be forced to build vehicles that do not match consumer demand.
California is now negotiating with the EPA and NHTSA on new standards through 2025. Some environmental groups are attempting to raise the average fuel economy on new vehicles to 60 miles per gallon, while cutting carbon pollution by an additional 40 percent.