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SACRAMENTO, March 15, 2017 – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon today blasted the cynical ploy by the Trump administration and auto manufacturers to roll back vehicle pollution standards finalized earlier this year. In coordinated action, on the same day the Trump administration moved to weaken these standards, the auto manufacturers also challenged them in federal court.
“President Trump’s decision today to weaken emission standards in cars is an unconscionable gift to polluters. Once again, you’ve put the interests of big oil ahead of clean air and politics ahead of science,” said Governor Brown in a letter sent today to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt.
The state also announced today that California is intervening in a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed Monday by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The industry lawsuit challenges the U.S. EPA’s January 2017 determination that 2022-25 vehicle fuel pollution standards are feasible. These standards were originally adopted in 2012 as part of an agreement between the car manufacturers, the federal government and the California Air Resources Board.
“Your action to weaken vehicle pollution standards – standards your own members agreed to – breaks your promise to the American people,” said Governor Brown in a separate letter to automobile manufacturers. “Please be advised that California will take the necessary steps to preserve the current standards and protect the health of our people and the stability of our climate.”
If granted, California’s motion – filed late Tuesday – would allow the state to defend the feasibility determination and prevent efforts to undo the 2022-25 standards, which are based on rigorous environmental and engineering analysis and review.
“California is forward-leaning – you don’t become the world’s fifth largest economy by sitting back,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “For us, clean air, good-paying jobs and quality of life go hand-in-hand. For us, there’s no turning back in the fight against pollution.”
The U.S. EPA’s own analysis shows that over the lifetime of these cars, the 2022-25 vehicle emission standards would:
- Save consumers more than $1,650 per vehicle.
- Reduce oil consumption by nearly 40 billion gallons of refined gasoline and diesel fuel.
- Decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 540 million metric tons.
“California’s pioneering efforts to reduce emissions from cars and trucks have become a national example, and have been supported by past Administrations both Republican and Democratic,” said Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León. “Our policies have helped deploy more efficient cars and new technologies, saving consumers billions of dollars in fuel costs and more in adverse health and environmental impacts. Today’s action will only hold back innovation to favor a couple of industries and will further choke the air out of our children’s lungs.”
“California rejects efforts to weaken mileage standards already agreed to by manufacturers,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “To ease those requirements not only threatens our environment, but it is a gift to corporations taken from the pockets of families who will have to pay more for dirtier air.”