California and 22 states challenge Trump administration vehicle standards

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California and 22 other states sued the administration of President Donald Trump on Wednesday to challenge new, less strict standards for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks.

The petition for review was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The new rule finalized March 31 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation would require automakers to improve fuel economy by about 1.5 percent per year, reduced from a 5 percent improvement set by the administration of President Barack Obama. It would also roll back limits on greenhouse gas-producing carbon dioxide pollution from vehicle tailpipes for cars in model years 2021 through 2026.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra charged at a news conference that the rule “will increase costs to consumers and allow the emission of dangerous pollutants that directly threaten the health of our families.”

It will allow “hundreds of millions of metric tons of avoidable carbon emissions into our atmosphere over the next decade,” he said.

EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones said the agency could not comment on the lawsuit, but said the rule “provides a sensible, single national program that strikes the right regulatory balance, protects our environment and sets reasonable targets for the auto industry.”

The California Air Resources Board and the cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, New York and Washington, D.C., also joined in the lawsuit. San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said, “This rule is a threat to the environment and to our communities’ health. The science is clear: vehicle emissions are a major cause of global warming.”

California and 16 other states previously filed a related lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., in 2018 to challenge the EPA’s plan to begin reconsidering the stricter emissions standards set by the Obama Administration in 2012. Becerra said he did not know whether proceedings in the two lawsuits will be combined.

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