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May 2, 2018

EPA’s Emissions Rules Rollback Taken to Court

California leads 17 other states in fighting to keep Obama’s onerous emissions regulations.

A month ago, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt drove his predecessor’s onerous fuel-efficiency standards into the ground. Those standards, Pruitt correctly explained, were “too high” and economically harmful for manufacturers (i.e. consumers). California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein admonished the decision, retorting, “Cars are becoming more fuel efficient and consumers are saving money at the pump.” While true — though gasoline prices are now headed upward — the low cost of fuel over the past few years is one major reason the standards are vexatious.

As National Review explains, “In defending the proposed revisions to the Obama-era standards, the EPA has cited falling fuel prices, which increase demand for larger cars and SUVs and make it more difficult for automakers to hit average fuel-economy targets.” Nevertheless, 18 states are retaliating against the EPA’s rollback by urging the courts to intercede.

The Los Angeles Times reports: “Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday announced a lawsuit by California and 17 other states against the Trump administration to protect national vehicle emission standards from being rolled back by the federal government. The lawsuit filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, seeks to set aside and hold unlawful the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to weaken the existing clean car rules.”

In Brown’s declaration, he stated: “The states joining today’s lawsuit represent 140 million people who simply want cleaner and more efficient cars. This phalanx of states will defend the nation’s clean car standards to boost gas mileage and curb toxic air pollution.” It goes without saying that not every one of those 140 million people agree with the lawsuit — especially those who understand what the standards will do to their wallets. But California and its other Blue State allies will attempt to force their will on us anyway.

On the one hand, California wants more autonomy. As National Review points out, “California, which represents roughly 12 percent of all U.S. auto sales, had received a series of federal waivers that allow it and twelve other states involved in the suit to implement emissions standards that are stricter than the EPA’s. The administration has moved to revoke those waivers.”

But the state also wants to foist its agenda on everyone else. The Washington Free Beacon recalls, “Starting in 2010, the EPA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the California Resources Board worked together to craft a uniform nationwide economy standard for vehicles manufactured between 2012 and 2025.” The bottom line? National Review says, “Automakers and industry groups … are now concerned that the nascent legal battle could lead to a divided market as certain states require more stringent emissions standards than others.” And that’s what nobody wants — another legal circus.

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