Attorney General Ford Condemns Trump Administration’s Attempt to Rob California’s Legal Authority to Set Emission Standards

September 20, 2019

Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford vowed to fight the Trump Administration’s unprecedented action to revoke California’s waiver to establish vehicle emissions standards for greenhouse gas emissions and standards to require manufacturers to sell zero emissions vehicles. These standards are vital to curbing emissions and addressing air quality issues and the climate crisis.

    “My commitment to protect our families includes protecting our health and safety whenever possible,” said AG Ford. “California's heightened vehicle emissions standards= have measurable benefits to our air quality and environment, and by revoking these emissions protections, the Trump Administration is not only harming Nevada, but our nation as a whole.”

      Under the federal Clean Air Act, California may set its own vehicle emissions standards that are at least as protective as the federal government’s standards. California retains this authority in order to address the extraordinary and compelling air pollution issues affecting the state. Other states may also choose to adopt these standards. As part of the process, California is required to obtain a waiver from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

        Over the past 50 years, the EPA has granted 100 waivers for California standards. As a result, the state has reduced emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons annually, encouraged the development of emission controls technologies, and contributed to stronger federal standards.

          In January 2012, California adopted its comprehensive Advanced Clean Car Program for model years 2017 through 2025. The program combines the control of smog-causing pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions into a single coordinated package of standards. The rules save drivers money at the pump, reduce oil consumption, reduce air pollution, and curb greenhouse gases.

            In 2013, the EPA granted California a waiver for the Advanced Clean Car Program. Thirteen other states and the District of Columbia follow at least a portion of the Advanced Clean Car Program. When accounting for emissions savings from other states that follow California’s standards, these emission reductions nearly triple.

              On September 19, 2019, the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced their plan to revoke California’s authority for its greenhouse gas and zero emission vehicle standards, using a tired and unsuccessful argument that the waiver is preempted by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. This argument has been rejected by Congress, the courts, and by the EPA itself. The EPA’s revocation arguments under the Clean Air Act fare no better, departing, as they do, from the purpose, structure and plain text of the Act.

                Nevada is part of a coalition of 26 states, territories and cities opposing President Trump’s plan and any weakening of the Clean Car Standards. The coalition stands strong to defend our nation’s Clean Car Standards as well as California’s strict limits on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions and its Zero Emission Vehicles program, both of which protect the health and safety of its residents.

                  In addition to Nevada, the following states are included in this action: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia; as well as the cities of Los Angeles and New York.

                    To view the filed complaint, click here.