EDF, Allies Give EPA Robust Support for Restoring Unlawfully Withdrawn State Clean Car Waiver

July 7, 2021
Sharyn Stein, 202-905-5718, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – July 7, 2021) Environmental Defense Fund and 11 other public interest groups have filed comments with the Environmental Protection Agency detailing the reasons why the agency should rescind an unlawful Trump-era action that sought to undermine states’ long-standing authority to protect people from the unhealthy pollution from cars, passenger trucks and SUVs.

“Strong clean car standards will save lives, create American jobs, and protect our climate. California is poised to continue its long tradition of leading the country in the advancement of those protective standards with its next generation standards that are expected to eliminate tailpipe pollution from new motor vehicles sold in the state by 2035,”said EDF senior attorney Alice Henderson. “The Trump administration unlawfully tried to block California and other states from using their authority under the Clean Air Act. We urge EPA to swiftly restore full clean car authority to the states so they can continue to lead the way in the fight against motor vehicle pollution.”

The Clean Air Act directs EPA to grant California a waiver of federal preemption to set more protective standards for vehicular air pollution. It also allows other states to adopt California’s standards. These state authorities have been in place for more than half a century.

In 2013, EPA granted a waiver for California’s greenhouse gas and zero-emission vehicle standards. Then in 2019, the Trump Administration took the unprecedented and unlawful step of revoking that waiver. EPA is now proposing to reverse the Trump action, to reinstate the waiver for California’s greenhouse gas and zero-emission vehicle standards and to ensure other states can adopt those California standards.

EDF and its allies filed formal comments with EPA strongly supporting EPA’s proposal, arguing that the Trump administration actions were “arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law.” The Center for Biological Diversity, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Communities for a Better Environment, Conservation Law Foundation, Earthjustice, Environment America, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen, Sierra Club and Union of Concerned Scientists joined EDF in the filing. You can read the full comments here.

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