Representatives for the California Air Resources Board have stated that they will take all legal measures necessary to block the Trump administration’s efforts to freeze fuel economy limits at nationwide 2020 levels. Under the Clean Air Act (“Act”), California has special authority to enact stricter pollution standards for motor vehicles than the nationwide standards set by the federal government. Under the same provisions of the Act, other states may adopt the more stringent California standards if they find them to be more protective of public health. Under the Trump administration, the EPA sought to impose more lenient emission requirements in an August 2018 proposal, and to make those requirements binding on the State of California.
California, and a coalition of 13 other states who wish to adopt the more stringent California standard are now threatening to sue the EPA to challenge the 2018 rule. A majority of large auto manufacturers have urged the administration to reach a national agreement with regard to emission standards to prevent a patchwork of emission standards, and the uncertainty of years of litigation over the emission standards.
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