Union of Concerned Scientists Applauds Repeal of Trump-Era Agency Action Scrapping California’s Clean Car Standards

Statement by Michelle Robinson, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Mar 9, 2022

WASHINGTON (March 9, 2022)—Today, the Environmental Protection Agency reinstated the waiver acknowledging California’s authority to administer and enforce its clean car rules. The state’s authority to set more stringent greenhouse gas emissions standards and zero-emissions vehicle requirements was withdrawn by the previous administration, putting state climate leadership at risk, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Michelle Robinson, director of the Clean Transportation Program at UCS.

“Today is an important day for the future of transportation policy. EPA did the right thing by reinstating the waiver, without which California was prevented from enforcing higher greenhouse gas emissions standards and effectively promoting zero-emissions vehicles. The previous administration’s agency action relied on a deeply flawed understanding of the law and thwarted the ability of states to take important steps toward limiting carbon emissions. Today’s reinstatement of the waiver is an important milestone in the fight to preserve critical environmental regulations undone by the Trump administration.”

UCS, represented by Democracy Forward Foundation, along with allied public interest organizations, had filed a petition for review in November 2019 asking the D.C. Circuit to invalidate EPA’s waiver withdrawal. While that case remained pending, the new administration undertook a review of the prior agency action, culminating in today’s decision to reinstate California’s waiver. During the course of that review, in July 2021, UCS, again represented by Democracy Forward Foundation, along with eleven other public interest groups, submitted a comment in response to EPA’s plan to reinstate the waiver. In the comment, the groups stated that “the Trump EPA lacked statutory authority for its Waiver Withdrawal.”