Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has joined California Attorney General Rob Bonta, as well as other attorneys general and city attorneys, to support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to restore California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act for its stricter green house gas and zero emission vehicle programs.
“California’s groundbreaking efforts to curb tailpipe emissions have helped make essential environmental progress,” Feuer said Tuesday. “With Climate Justice the pre-eminent issue of the 21st century, I applaud the Biden administration’s EPA for moving to restore our state’s authority over automobile pollution rules. In the battle to save our planet, there is not a moment to lose.”
California’s waiver had been withdrawn by the EPA under the Trump administration, and litigation against that action is stayed to permit the current EPA to reconsider. The EPA also proposes rescinding its determination that the Clean Air Act does not authorize other states to adopt California’s greenhouse gas standards for passenger cars and light trucks.
“Putting cleaner cars on the road isn’t just some abstract tool in the fight against climate change. It has tangible benefits — right here, right now — for some of our most vulnerable communities,” said Bonta, who is leading the coalition with the California Air Resources Board.
“California cities have some of the worst air quality in the nation, despite significant improvements in recent decades. What that means is millions of Californians are breathing dirty air and suffering from the resulting health consequences. That’s unacceptable,” Bonta added.
The state’s clean car standards began 60 years ago, before emission standards were set by the federal government, according to Bonta’s office. California has been granted more than 100 waivers during that time, including for its Advanced Clean Car program in 2013.
The standards have been adopted by 13 states, which represents more than a third of the U.S. automobile market.
The state board expects the Advanced Clean Car Program to reduce smog-forming pollution by 75% and greenhouse gas emissions by 40% for an average car sold in 2025 compared to 2012. Bonta’s office called the standards crucial for mitigating the threats of severe drought and extreme wildfires from climate change.
“California’s pioneering vehicle emissions standards have paved the way for states across the nation to clean the air, protect public health and foster breakthrough advancements for a new generation of vehicles,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “The previous administration’s attack on California’s decades-long right to set its own standards is unprecedented, unscientific and cannot stand. California looks forward to working with the Biden administration to get more zero-emission vehicles on the road with this critical tool to combat the climate crisis.”
California Air Resources Board Chair Liane Randolph urged the Biden administration to quickly reverse the EPA’s withdrawal of California’s waiver.
“Against all scientific evidence, the Trump administration took it upon itself to undermine California’s legal authority under the Clean Air Act to set state vehicle emission standards to address its pressing air pollution and climate challenges,” she said. “California’s standards were adopted in concert with the Obama administration to help curb the worst impacts of climate change and protect public health, especially in overburdened communities.”
The coalition includes attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Hawaii and the District of Columbia, as well as the cities of Los Angeles, New York City, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose.
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