Attorney General James Issues Statement On Trump Administration's Rollback Of Clean Car Rule

Attorney General James Issues Statement on Trump Administration’s Rollback of Clean Car Rule

NEW YORK— In response to a letter sent today from New York and 11 other states to the EPA regarding their rollback of Clean Car standards, Attorney General James issued the following statement:

“The Trump Administration is not only paving the way for polluters, it is doing so illegally. For decades, states have stepped up to protect our planet with cost-saving, pollution-fighting clean car regulations. Trump’s Administration wants to overturn these standards, and failed to follow basic accountability measures in proposing new rules. As we continue to confront the crisis of climate change, my office will stand firm against dangerous environmental rollbacks from the Trump Administration.”

In their proposal to rollback federal Clean Car Rules (GHG standards and fuel economy standards), the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also propose to preempt states from maintaining their own more stringent standards. The agencies falsely asserted they had complied with state consultation requirements of a longstanding Executive Order requiring federal agencies proposing a rule that will preempt state law to consult with states early in the process of developing the proposal. 

The EPA/NHTSA rollback of the Clean Car Rule would have substantial impact on NY and the other preempted states both by:  

1) revoking CA’s waiver under the federal Clean Air Act to adopt and enforce more stringent vehicle emission standards than those adopted nationally, which would thereby also preempt NY and 11 other states that follow CA’s lead; and

2) asserting that the states’ separate clean car standards are preempted by the statute under which NHTSA sets fuel economy standards. 

The EPA went even further, and has proposed that New York and other states are preempted from adopting California’s standards even if California’s standards were to remain un-preempted. 

At the time EPA/NHTSA proposed the rollback and asserted the compliance with the Executive Order, neither New York, nor other states in our coalition, had knowledge of ever being consulted on the proposed preemption by EPA/NHTSA, so the states requested documents under the federal Freedom of Information Act for any records supporting such consultation. In its much-delayed FOIA response whereby the states sued to compel the agency to respond, the agencies provided no records of any consultation with any state of the rollback proposal’s preemption.

The comments filed today request that EPA/NHSTA withdraw the rollback rule and comply with the Executive Order’s consultation requirement before issuing another rule, and that EPA/NHSTA correct the public record to reflect that they, in fact, did not comply with the Executive Order.  

In addition to New York, the states that submitted the comments include Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington.