Eighteen states on Tuesday sued the Environmental Protection Agency, challenging the agency’s planned rollback of auto emission standards.
The lawsuit, led by California, argues that President Donald Trump’s EPA violated the Clean Air Act and failed to follow its own regulations when it announced last month that it was scrapping national vehicle emissions standards aimed at cutting oil consumption, air pollution and carbon emissions.
“Trump is a one-man demolition derby on science and the Clean Air Act,” Gov. Jerry Brown said at a Tuesday press conference. Borrowing Trump’s name-calling penchant, Brown repeatedly referred to EPA chief Scott Pruitt as “Outlaw Pruitt.”
An EPA spokesperson said the agency wouldn’t comment on pending litigation.
The EPA announced last month that it intended to roll back the landmark Obama-era rule tightening vehicle fuel standards that automakers agreed to in 2012. That federal policy required vehicles to average 54.5 miles per gallon ― nearly double today’s standard ― by 2025. It was predicted to cause oil consumption to fall by 12 billion barrels, prevent 6 billion metric tons of planet-warming gases from ever entering the atmosphere and save consumers $3,200 to $5,700 in gasoline costs over a vehicle’s lifetime.
The EPA said in a 38-page finding last month that it was reconsidering how climate change would factor into such regulations, and said overturning the Obama-era standards would benefit Americans by lowering gas prices.
But California and 17 other states, plus Washington, D.C., object to the EPA’s view with the lawsuit. The plaintiffs represent about 140 million Americans and more than 40 percent of the U.S. car market, Brown and other officials emphasized at the press conference.
“Defend clean car standards,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra urged Pruitt. “Don’t tear them up.”
This lawsuit follows nine other suits California has filed against the EPA previously, Becerra said.
The other plaintiffs in the new case include Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington state. The complaint was filed in U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.