California’s Clean Vehicle Authority Affirmed by Federal Court

WASHINGTON— A federal appeals court today upheld California’s longstanding waiver from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which allows the state to set its own program of clean vehicle regulations. The court dismissed a suit brought by the oil and gas industry allied with corn ethanol and biodiesel growers and 17 Republican-led states.

In March 2022 the EPA restored California’s decade-long ability to set its own zero-emission vehicle and tailpipe standards, reversing a decision by the previous administration. Today’s decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejects claims that it gives California a regulatory power denied to other states. It leaves California’s waiver — and the clean vehicle program it authorized — in place.

“Now that California’s well-established right to protect its residents from air pollution and global heating is reaffirmed, the state needs to go full speed ahead with strong car standards,” said Scott Hochberg, a transportation attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, which intervened in the case to support California’s waiver. “This year California should continue to show national leadership on clean vehicles by adopting ambitious new standards for gas-powered cars, pickups and SUVs.”

The court confirmed that California faces “significant pollution and climate challenges,” which have “particularly harmful impacts on California” due to its over-stressed water supply, long coastlines, susceptibility to wildfires, and other factors.

“Importantly, this ruling ensures that the 17 other states that follow California can keep driving towards a future with cleaner air and cleaner vehicles,” said Hochberg.

Source: “Federal Court Affirms California’s Clean Vehicle Authority,” Apr. 9, 2024 Center for Biological Diversity press release.

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