California, 16 other states sue Trump administration over EPA's weakened car emissions targets

May 1, 2018

California and more than a dozen states on Tuesday filed suit against the EPA over administrator Scott Pruitt's proposal to roll back Obama-era greenhouse gas standards that include new car fuel-economy standards.

The suit, filed by California's attorney general in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, goes after the EPA for its intention to do away with more stringent rules the EPA adopted in 2016.

MORE: Trump’s EPA ready to roll back Obama-era fuel-economy rules

Leaked documents indicate that Pruitt intends to freeze fuel-economy standards after 2020 levels through 2026, which would stall automaker fleet-wide fuel economy requirements for automakers at 42 mpg, rather than 54.5 mpg by 2026 outlined by the Obama-era EPA. Due to a multitude of factors, that 42 mpg figure is closer to 30 mpg in real-world use, while the 54.5 mpg figure is more like 40 mpg.

Last year, automakers averaged about 25.7 mpg across their entire lineups.

“Pollutants coming out of vehicle, out of tail pipes, does permanent lung damage to children living near well-traveled roads and freeways," California governor Jerry Brown said at a press conference Tuesday. "The only way we’re going to overcome that is by reducing emissions."

Brown later referred to the EPA administrator as "Outlaw Pruitt."

DON'T MISS: Automakers tout clean cars while fighting the EPA

“Climate change is not a joke, the fires, the floods, the rising sea levels," Brown said. "This is real stuff, and if Pruitt doesn’t get it, if Trump doesn’t get it, they’ve got to go.”

For nearly five decades, the California Air Resource Board (CARB) has had a waiver to set its own, higher tailpipe emissions standards for new cars sold within its borders. Several other states have routinely adopted CARB's standards, which in years past has led to automakers building cars with "California emissions" equipment installed.

The EPA hasn't said if the CARB waiver would be renewed, only that "it is still being reexamined."

The suit is California's 32nd filed against the Trump administration, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said.

California led in filing the suit but was joined by Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Combined, those 17 states and D.C. account for about 43 percent of the new-car market, the state said in a release.

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