District Joins 18-State Coalition to Defend National Auto Emission Standards

Suit Challenges Sudden EPA Decision to Dump Standards Protecting Environment

WASHINGTON, D. C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine today joined an 18-state coalition in suing the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its attempt to abandon greenhouse-gas-emission standards currently in place for model year 2022-2025 vehicles. The standards save drivers money at the pump, reduce oil consumption, and curb greenhouse gases. The suit claims that, in dropping the standards without supporting evidence, the EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously, failed to follow its own Clean Car regulations, and violated the Clean Air Act. 

“The scientific consensus is clear that carbon emissions are the main contributor to global warming – and the District is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise and other harmful effects of climate change,” Attorney General Racine said. “We believe the EPA acted unwisely and unlawfully to reverse these rules, and we have joined this suit to hold them accountable.”

Beginning in 2010, the EPA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and California Air Resources Board established a single national program of greenhouse gas emissions standards for model year 2012-2025 vehicles. This program allows automakers to design and manufacture their vehicles with a single national target for greenhouse emissions in line with the strongest of state standards. The federal standards the states are suing to protect, for model year 2022-2025 vehicles, are estimated to reduce carbon pollution equivalent to 134 coal power plants burning for a year and to save drivers $1,650 per vehicle. At present, the car industry is on track to meet or exceed these standards.

Last year, the EPA affirmed these standards were appropriate based on an extensive record of data. The California Air Resources Board also affirmed the standards were appropriate and that the federal government should continue to support a single national program for all states.

On April 13, 2018, however, the EPA, without evidence to support the decision, arbitrarily reversed course and claimed that the greenhouse gas emissions standards for model years 2022-2025 vehicles should be scrapped. The Trump Administration offered no evidence to support this decision and deferred any analysis to a forthcoming rulemaking designed to try to weaken the existing 2022-2025 standards.

Today’s lawsuit, available here, was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The coalition is being led by California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr., California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and the California Air Resources Board.

Joining Attorney General Racine and Attorney General Becerra in filing today’s lawsuit were the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania (also filed by and through its Department of Environmental Protection), Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington state. Minnesota filed by and through its Pollution Control Agency and Department of Transportation. This coalition represents approximately 44 percent of the U.S. population and 43 percent of the new car sales market nationally.