Attorney General Tong Joins Coalition in Defense of California’s Waiver for Clean Car Standards(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong today joined a multistate coalition in filing a motion to intervene in defense of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to restore California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act for its greenhouse gas (GHG) and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standards. California’s standards, which have been adopted by 17 states, result in emissions reductions of hundreds of thousands of tons annually and are essential components of California's and other states' plans to fight climate change and protect public health. The coalition today seeks to join the EPA in defending the waiver from challenges filed by several states and industry groups.
“Consumers don’t want dirty air and inefficient cars. The Biden EPA was absolutely right to restore California’s waiver for clean car standards, which is mission critical in our fight against climate change. These partisan challenges are bad for consumers, bad for public health, bad for our climate, and should be dismissed,” said Attorney General Tong.
Since it first adopted vehicle emission standards more than 60 years ago, California has been granted more than 100 waivers, including in 2013 when the EPA granted California a waiver for its Advanced Clean Car program. Six years later, under the Trump Administration, the EPA withdrew California’s waiver to set its own greenhouse gas and ZEV standards, which a multistate coalition swiftly challenged in court. At the coalition’s urging, on March 9, 2022, the EPA announced a final action restoring California’s waiver.
California’s clean car standards have been adopted by 17 states, including Connecticut, representing more than one-third of the U.S. automobile market. These standards, which have been implemented in some states for more than a decade, are essential components of state plans to reduce emissions and attain federally mandated National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter and ozone — two pollutants which cause significant adverse health impacts. In today’s motion, the coalition argues that California’s waiver is critical for California and other states to reduce emissions and mitigate the threats from air pollution, including climate change.
Attorney General Tong has pushed the Biden Administration to reduce emissions from the transportation sector and to reaffirm states' ability to do the same. Last summer, Attorney General Tong submitted comments urging the EPA to restore California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act for its GHG and zero-emission vehicle standards. The Attorney General also joined a coalition in urging NHTSA to repeal a Trump-era rule, known as the “Preemption Rule,” that purported to preempt California’s GHG and zero-emission vehicles standards. On December 21, 2021, NHTSA announced a repeal of that rule. More recently, Attorney General Tong joined a multistate coalition in urging the EPA to adopt more stringent GHG standards for light-duty vehicles for model years 2021-2026, and intervened to defend these standards after they were finalized.
In filing the motion, Attorney General Tong joins the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the cities of Los Angeles and New York.
A copy of the motion can be found here.
Assistant Attorney General Scott Koschwitz and Chief of the Environment Section Matthew Levine assisted the Attorney General with this matter.