States File Legal Challenge to EPA Clean Cars Rollback

EDF Strongly Supports Defense of Common Sense Climate Protection

May 1, 2018
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396,

(Washington, D.C. – May 1, 2018) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today threw its support behind a coalition of states that are challenging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s attempt to weaken America’s Clean Car Standards


The coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia filed a petition for judicial review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today.


“The states’ legal challenge is crucial to protect our nation’s Clean Car Standards that reduce dangerous air pollution and save Americans hard-earned money,” said Vickie Patton, EDF General Counsel. “Scott Pruitt is recklessly disregarding the vast technical and economic bases for America’s Clean Car Standards, and instead launching an all-out attack that risks Americans’ health and their pocketbooks. We fully support the states’ legal challenge to Pruitt’s unsupported and unacceptable action.” 


California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia joined in today’s legal challenge. EDF also plans to challenge Pruitt’s unlawful action in court. 


The Clean Car Standards are one of America’s biggest success stories in combating climate change. Pruitt’s effort to roll back the clean car standards risks putting two billion tons of additional climate pollution in our air and costing American families $460 billion in savings at the gas pump, according to EDF’s analysis.


More than two-thirds of American voters support the Clean Car Standards, according to a recent poll by the American Lung Association. Automakers like Ford and Honda have said they do not want a roll back.


EPA, the Department of Transportation, and the California Air Resources Board conducted an exhaustive technical review of the auto industry’s ability to meet the Model Year 2022 to 2025 Clean Car Standards. They found extensive evidence that the automotive industry can meet the standards at lower costs than predicted when the standards were initially finalized in 2012.


Scott Pruitt released his Final Determination, published in the Federal Register on April 13, that seeks to roll back the Clean Car Standards. Pruitt’s determination was based almost entirely on auto industry statements, without any independent analysis. 


Late last week, a leaked Trump administration document indicated plans to flatline the current standards at 2020 levels, and to attack state leadership on clean cars — underscoring the importance of the states’ legal challenge today. 


States have played a critical role in advancing climate protections. California has been a leader in setting protective tailpipe pollution standards, and twelve other states and the District of Columbia have adopted California’s protective standards. 

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