EDF, Allies File Lawsuit against Trump Administration to Protect Americans from Auto Pollution

September 27, 2019
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – September 27, 2019) Environmental Defense Fund and a coalition of environmental and public interest organizations have filed a lawsuit to stop the Trump administration from interfering with states’ long-standing authority to reduce dangerous pollution from cars.

The groups filed a complaint today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, one week after a similar lawsuit was filed by 23 states, the District of Columbia and two major cities.

“America has a long, bipartisan tradition of state leadership on clean cars. That leadership means millions of people have healthier air to breathe, stronger protections from dangerous climate pollution, and are saving hard-earned money on gas,” said Environmental Defense Fund general counsel Vickie Patton. “The Trump administration, acting unlawfully against clear statutory text and all common sense, is trying to revoke that state authority and block our progress on clean cars.”

The Trump administration announced last week that it would try to eliminate states’ clear authority to safeguard the health and well-being of their residents by setting more protective clean car standards – authority that is part of the Clean Air Act and has been in use for more than half a century. Strong clean car standards help protect Americans from the urgent threat of climate change and give us healthier air to breathe, reduce our dependence on imported oil, and drive the technological innovation that leads to economic prosperity and job growth.

Today, EDF and allies filed a lawsuit saying the administration’s declaration that federal law preempts state clean car standards “exceeds … statutory authority” and is “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, contrary to law, and unwarranted by the facts.” (Complaint, pages 2 and 3).

The Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Law Foundation, Environment America, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen, Sierra Club and Union of Concerned Scientists joined EDF in the complaint.

Last Friday, a coalition of states and cities filed a lawsuit to oppose the Trump administration’s actions. That coalition includes the states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin; the Commonwealths of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia; the People of the State of Michigan; the District of Columbia; and the cities of Los Angeles and New York.

Also today, Environmental Defense Fund filed a protective petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit opposing the Trump administration’s issuance of preemption regulations. EDF believes the proper forum for this challenge is the D.C. District Court, but also filed in the D.C. Circuit Court out of an abundance of caution.

EDF has also requested records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) related to the Trump administration’s unprecedented move to undermine state clean car standards. EDF filed FOIA requests with the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for their Response to Comment documents, which agencies prepare as part of a proper notice-and-comment rulemaking process. The FOIA requests will allow the public access to the same information the agencies had before them when issuing their decision.

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