GOP States Lose Attempt to Halt California Emission Rules

Standards are higher than those in the rest of the nation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 10, 2024 6:05 PM CDT
GOP States Lose Attempt to Halt California Emission Rules
A Chevrolet Volt hybrid car charges at a ChargePoint station at a parking garage in Los Angeles in 2018.   (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

California can continue to set its own nation-leading vehicle emissions standards, a federal court ruled Tuesday—two years after the Biden administration restored the state's authority to do so as part of its efforts to reverse Trump-era environmental rollbacks. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit blocked an attempt by Ohio, Alabama, Texas, and other Republican-led states to revoke California's authority to set standards that are stricter than rules set by the federal government. The court ruled that the states failed to prove how California's emissions standards would drive up costs for gas-powered vehicles in their states, the AP reports.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said the court ruling reaffirmed California's ability to fight the public health and environmental impacts of vehicle emissions. "The clean vehicle transition is already here—it's where the industry is going, the major automakers support our standards, and California is hitting our goals years ahead of schedule," he said in a statement. This year's presidential election could determine the fate of environmental regulations in California and nationwide. Then-President Trump's administration in 2019 revoked California's ability to enforce its own emissions standards, but President Biden later restored the state's authority.

In 2022, per the AP, Ohio led a coalition of states in filing a petition to attempt to block California's ability to enforce its own vehicle emissions standards, saying it violated the US Constitution and infringed upon federal government authority. For decades, California has been able to seek a waiver from the federal Environmental Protection Agency to set its own vehicle emission regulations. These rules are tougher than the federal standards because California, the nation's most populous state, has the most cars on the road and struggles to meet air quality standards. Other states can sign on to adopt California emission rules if they are approved by the federal government.

(More vehicle emissions stories.)

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