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Democratic attorneys general in 10 states are rushing to block President Trump’s pledge to roll back vehicle emissions standards set in motion by the Obama administration.
Trump on Wednesday said at an event in Detroit he will cancel former President Obama’s executive order on fuel mandates.
Attorneys general from California and New York said they would move to intervene in a lawsuit in federal court that challenges the Obama-era rules. That suit, brought by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, was filed Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
The filing would allow the two states to defend the mandates, which will require auto manufacturers to hit fuel economy standards of 54.5 miles per gallon by the year 2025.
“California is forward-leaning,” Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraPlanned Parenthood video makers face felony charges in Calif. In California race, social justice wing of Democrats finally comes of age Calif. gov: 'We're not going to bring stupid lawsuits' over border wall MORE (D) said Wednesday. “For us, clean air, good-paying jobs and quality of life go hand-in-hand. For us, there’s no turning back in the fight against pollution.”
The Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday filed papers to reopen a review process for the Obama-era standards. The review will consider once again a January determination that automakers continue to abide by the 2025 goals.
“These standards are costly for automakers and the American people,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement. “We will work with our partners at DOT to take a fresh look to determine if this approach is realistic.”
The Trump administration has not said whether it will actually rewrite the rule on fuel standards. But on Wednesday, Trump told the audience in Detroit his administration would protect auto jobs and factories.
“We are going to cancel that executive action. We are going to restore the originally scheduled midterm review,” Trump said. “We’re going to be fair.”
In a joint statement, attorneys general from New York, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington — all Democrats — and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection called the decision “a dramatic wrong turn in our nation’s efforts to fight air pollution from passenger cars and trucks.”
“We will vigorously oppose attempts by the Trump Administration to weaken our vehicle emission policies and put our public health at risk, and we won’t hesitate to stand up for the right of our states to adopt stricter pollution standards that provide critical protections to the health of our residents and our environmental resources,” the group said.
The Trump administration’s efforts to overturn the fuel standards rule is the latest front in a burgeoning war between Democratic states — and California especially — and the Republican-led federal government.
The Clean Air Act, which requires the EPA to establish emissions standards for new vehicles, gives California the authority to set its own fuel standard requirements. California law will require new cars to average 54 miles a gallon by 2025.
An analysis published by the EPA during Obama’s tenure estimates that the higher standards would save consumers money over the lifetime of their vehicle and reduce both oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
“President Trump’s decision today to weaken emission standards in cars is an unconscionable gift to polluters,” California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) wrote in a Wednesday letter to Pruitt.
“Once again, you’ve put the interests of big oil ahead of clean air and politics ahead of science.”
- Devin Henry contributed.
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