D.C. Circuit Upholds Reinstatement of California Clean Air Act Waiver in Ohio v. EPA


California leads the nation in securing emissions reductions in the transportation sector.


Zoe Woodcraft, (818) 606.7509, zwoodcraft@earthjustice.org

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2022 reinstatement of a waiver that authorizes California to set stronger vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standards than the federal government and to mandate that automakers sell an increasing number of zero-emissions vehicles in the state.

In Ohio v. EPA, the Ohio Attorney General and a group of like-minded state Attorneys General, along with oil, gas, and ethanol interests, challenged EPA’s reinstatement of California’s long-standing preemption waiver under the Clean Air Act for the state’s Advanced Clean Car program. The Sierra Club, co-counseled with Earthjustice, was a party to the litigation in support of the EPA. No automaker went to court against the EPA.

In response, Paul Cort, Director of the Right To Zero campaign at Earthjustice, released the following statement:

“California has long led the fight to clean up tailpipe pollution and address the climate crisis by accelerating a vital transition to clean cars and trucks. This ruling is a win for the millions of Americans living and breathing in the states that have adopted these life-saving tailpipe standards. It will also help protect our climate and provide automakers with regulatory stability as they plan for a future with zero-emissions vehicles and clean air.” 

Nearly 50 years ago, Congress included special treatment in the Clean Air Act to preserve California’s leadership in adopting standards that are more protective than the federal government’s. Congress recognized California’s need to minimize vehicle pollution and to push the vehicle industry to develop cleaner technology. After EPA grants a waiver for California’s regulations, other states can then adopt California’s more protective regulations for the health and welfare of their own residents.

(Thomas Barwick / Getty Images)
(Thomas Barwick / Getty Images)

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