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23 States Sue EPA Over Emissions


California and 22 other U.S. states filed suit last week to challenge the Trump administration’s decision to revoke California’s authority to set stiff vehicle tailpipe emissions rules and require a rising number of zero emission vehicles (ZEV).

This story by David Shepardson originally appeared in Reuters.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, seeks to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision in September to revoke portions of a waiver it granted in 2013. 

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is leading the legal challenges, told Reuters in an interview this week the state would aggressively fight to protect its own legal authority. 

“We are going to fight for everything we’ve gotten, everything we’ve attained and everything we still need to do,” Becerra said. “The Trump administration continues to fight on the side of for-profit polluters, instead of tackling air pollution and protecting public health.” 

The move follows a separate lawsuit filed in September by 23 states led by California against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) seeking to undo a parallel determination that federal law bars California from setting tailpipe emission standards and ZEV rules. 

The California ZEV mandate, adopted in 1990 and revised on numerous occasions, requires the sale of a rising number of electric or other zero-emission vehicles. Last year, California forecast that about 8 percent of the state’s new vehicle sales in 2025 will be zero-emission and plug-in electric hybrids. 

The EPA declined to comment on the lawsuit Friday but said the agency had not revoked California’s separate authority to enforce its Low Emission Vehicle program and other standards to address harmful smog-forming vehicle emissions.

In August, the administration proposed freezing vehicle efficiency requirements at 2020 levels through 2026, which would result in average fuel efficiency of 37 miles per gallon by 2026, compared with 46.7 mpg under Obama-era rules.

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