Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

States Representing 44% of U.S. Population Sue EPA for Blocking Auto Emissions Standards

Climate
States Representing 44% of U.S. Population Sue EPA for Blocking Auto Emissions Standards
Drivers battle traffic during rush hour in Los Angeles, CA in March 2015. Eric Demarcq / flickr / cc

By Jessica Corbett

A coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia is suing the Trump administration for blocking greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles that aimed to reduce air pollution and curb U.S. drivers' contributions to the global climate crisis.

In what critics called an "indefensible and frankly embarrassing decision," last month U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt caved to automobile industry lobbyists' demands and announced that his agency is drafting relaxed manufacturing rules for vehicles made between 2022 and 2025.


"Enough is enough," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Tuesday. "The evidence is irrefutable: today's clean car standards are achievable, science-based, and a boon for hardworking American families. But the EPA and Administrator Scott Pruitt refuse to do their job and enforce these standards."

Becerra, California Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Air Resources Board are leading the coalition that filed suit in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. According to a statement released by Becerra's office, the lawsuit alleges that Trump's EPA "acted arbitrarily and capriciously, failed to follow its own regulations, and violated the Clean Air Act" when rolling back the regulations.

"This coalition represents approximately 43 percent of the new car sales market nationally and 44 percent of the U.S. population," the statement noted. States attorneys general or agencies from Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia have signed on to the lawsuit (pdf).

In a short video posted to Twitter, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman—who has spearheaded multiple suits challenging the Trump administration's deregulatory efforts—outlined how the "responsible greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks" were implemented over the course of several years, only to be quashed by Trump and Pruitt "to serve their pro-pollution agenda."

"This move is totally unjustifiable under the facts and the law. That's why, today, we're going to stop them," Schneiderman said. "We need these responsible emission standards in New York and across the country. They fight climate change, they cut air pollution, and they save drivers money."

The lawsuit was lauded by environmental advocates nationwide.

Andrea McGimsey of Environment America commended the states for "standing up for the rights of their citizens to a stable climate and clean air."

"The mission of the EPA is to protect the environment and public health," McGimsey added. "Clearly Administrator Pruitt has not upheld this critical mission, so the states have rightfully filed this lawsuit to hold the administration accountable to the rule of law."

"Scott Pruitt is recklessly disregarding the vast technical and economic bases for America's clean car standards, and instead launching an all-out attack that risks Americans' health and their pocketbooks," declared Environmental Defense Fund general counsel Vickie Patton. "The states' legal challenge is crucial to protect our nation's clean car standards that reduce dangerous air pollution and save Americans hard-earned money."


This fall brings three new environmental movies. David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet | Official Trailer

This week marks the official start of fall, but longer nights and colder days can make it harder to spend time outdoors. Luckily, there are several inspiring environmental films that can be streamed at home.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice walk out and rally at the company's headquarters to demand that leaders take action on climate change in Seattle, Washington on Sept. 20, 2019. JASON REDMOND / AFP via Getty Images

The world's largest online retailer is making it slightly easier for customer to make eco-conscious choices.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Moms Clean Air Force members attend a press conference hosted by Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announcing legislation to ban chlorpyrifos on July 25, 2017. Moms Clean Air Force

The Trump administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a risk assessment for toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos Tuesday that downplayed its effects on children's brains and may be the first indication of how the administration's "secret science" policy could impact public health.

Read More Show Less
Evacuees wait to board a bus as they are evacuated by local and state government officials before the arrival of Hurricane Laura on August 26, 2020 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Maria Trimarchi and Sarah Gleim

If all the glaciers and ice caps on the planet melted, global sea level would rise by about 230 feet. That amount of water would flood nearly every coastal city around the world [source: U.S. Geological Survey]. Rising temperatures, melting arctic ice, drought, desertification and other catastrophic effects of climate change are not examples of future troubles — they are reality today. Climate change isn't just about the environment; its effects touch every part of our lives, from the stability of our governments and economies to our health and where we live.

Read More Show Less
In 'My Octopus Teacher,' Craig Foster becomes fascinated with an octopus and visits her for hundreds of days in a row. Netflix

In his latest documentary, My Octopus Teacher, free diver and filmmaker Craig Foster tells a unique story about his friendship and bond with an octopus in a kelp forest in Cape Town, South Africa. It's been labeled "the love story that we need right now" by The Cut.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch