Maryland and 22 other states sue Trump over auto emissions rules

Posted at 2:50 PM, Sep 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-20 14:50:56-04

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today joined a coalition of attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to challenge the Trump Administration’s unlawful regulation designed to preempt California’s greenhouse gas emissions and Zero-Emission Vehicle standards.

In a press release Frosh's office said these standards— authorized in 2013 by a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency and followed in part or whole by 13 other states, including Maryland, and the District of Columbia — are a key part of state efforts to protect public health and the environment. In the lawsuit, the coalition asserts that this Preemption Rule is unlawful and should be vacated.

“Reversing course in the country’s efforts to reduce air pollution from passenger vehicles is unlawful, irresponsible, and endangers the health of our children and our environment,” said Attorney General Frosh in a statement.

“Wiping out these common sense standards undermines successful efforts made by states, including Maryland, to combat greenhouse gas emissions.”

Under the federal Clean Air Act, California may apply for a waiver from EPA to set its own vehicle emissions standards that are at least as protective as the federal government’s standards, and EPA must approve the waiver, unless it makes certain findings.

Over the past 50 years, the EPA has granted 100 waivers to California. As a result of California’s vehicle emissions program, the state and others who have adopted the standards have reduced emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons annually, encouraged the development of emission controls technologies, and paved the way for stronger federal standards.

The statement from Frosh's office goes on to say through its unlawful Preemption Regulation, NHTSA is attempting to declare the California greenhouse gas and ZEV standards preempted under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, based on arguments repeatedly rejected by multiple courts. In doing so, NHTSA oversteps the authority granted to it by Congress and ignores Congress’s careful and repeated preservation of California’s authority.

Governor Hogan directed Frosh to take this action in a letter last week.

"As a national leader on clean cars, climate change, and greenhouse gas reduction, my administration cannot allow these federal actions to stand as they will adversely impact the environment, including the progress Maryland has made on air and water quality," said in the letter.