Today, the Biden administration announced a proposed rule that would regrant California its Clean Air Act waiver, reversing an illegal and unprecedented move by the Trump administration that had implications far beyond the Golden State.
Clean car standards being adopted by states across the country require new cars sold in the state to emit fewer greenhouse gases as well as an increasing percentage of new cars sold in the state to be zero-emission vehicles.
The Trump administration’s revocation of California’s waiver also impacted 14 states and Washington D.C. that have adopted these stronger tailpipe pollution standards, 11 of which also adopted the zero emission vehicle standards before Trump took office. The clean car standards protect the environment and the public health of more than 118 million people, upwards of 40% of the U.S. population.
The Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice, together with a broad coalition of public health and environmental groups, took Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency to court to preserve states’ rights to protect their communities from pollution.
“The Biden administration’s regranting of the Clean Air Act waiver reverses one of Donald Trump’s most egregious attacks on our nation’s climate policy and returns states’ authority to move forward with clean car programs that will help them act on climate and protect communities from dangerous air pollution,” said Sierra Club President Ramón Cruz. “While this is an important action, it is not enough to reverse the damage done. In order to meet the moment, the Biden administration must craft a bold new policy that accelerates zero emission vehicle adoption and puts the status quo in the rear view mirror. It’s time to put a Biden clean car standard in the fast lane.”
“The Biden administration is continuing to demonstrate its commitment to climate action and environmental justice by once again recognizing states’ authority to adopt more ambitious vehicle emissions standards than those set by the federal government,” said Jill Tauber, Vice President of Litigation, Climate and Energy, at Earthjustice. “Transportation is the largest U.S. source of greenhouse gases, pumping toxic air pollution into communities that are often low income, Black, Brown, and Indigenous. We hope to see the Biden administration build on this momentum by setting clean car standards that swiftly and equitably transition us to zero-emissions vehicles.”