Seventeen states and the District of Columbia are suing the Trump Administration over the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent rollback of auto emissions standards. The agency withdrew the regulations last month, which would have applied to light-duty vehicles of model years 2022 through 2025. The suit was filed Tuesday in a US Court of Appeals, according to The Hill.
According to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the move violated the Clean Air Act as well as the Administrative Procedures Act, which prohibits decisions that are “arbitrary, capricious” or “unsupported by substantial evidence.”
His office said the regulations were estimated to cut emissions equivalent to the annual output from 134 coal power plants in a year, and would have saved drivers $1,650 per vehicle annually.
The states contend that the agency failed to offer sufficient evidence to justify its rollback of the standards, and are bringing the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
According to a statement from Becerra:
“The evidence is irrefutable: today’s clean car standards are achievable, science-based and a boon for hardworking American families. But the EPA and Administrator Scott Pruitt refuse to do their job and enforce these standards.”
“Enough is enough. We’re not looking to pick a fight with the Trump administration, but when the stakes are this high for our families’ health and our economic prosperity, we have a responsibility to do what is necessary to defend them.”
Last month, the EPA argued that the standards were overly restrictive. A notice from the agency explained:
“Based on our review and analysis of the comments and information submitted, and EPA’s own analysis, the Administrator believes that the current GHG emission standards for MY 2022–2025 light-duty vehicles presents challenges for auto manufacturers due to feasibility and practicability, raises potential concerns related to automobile safety and results in significant additional costs on consumers, especially low-income consumers.”
States suing the administration include California, as well as Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington.
California Senator Dianne Feinstein, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made a statement in support of the lawsuit, arguing that a thorough technical analysis had showed the standards were working effectively, at a reduced cost for manufacturers. According to her statement:
“The Trump administration cannot ignore the science and the law. If the administration continues down this path to weaken the fuel economy standards set in conjunction with California, they’ll be inviting additional lawsuits…there simply is no acceptable justification for throwing the analysis out in order to roll back the standards.”