Seventeen Republican state attorneys general on Friday announced a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for allowing California to set its own vehicle emissions standards.
The lawsuit alleges EPA Administrator Michael Regan violated the Constitution’s doctrine of equal sovereignty by allowing California an exemption from the Clean Air Act, which the Golden State used to impose more stringent emissions limits than the nationwide limit.
“The Act simply leaves California with a slice of its sovereign authority that Congress withdraws from every other state,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) said in a statement. “The EPA cannot selectively waive the Act’s preemption for California alone because that favoritism violates the states’ equal sovereignty.”
Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the attorneys general for Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.
In 2019 the Trump administration revoked a waiver previously granted to California in 2013, which allowed it to set stricter standards for vehicles than the national standard. This March, Regan announced the waiver would be restored.
The EPA, which said as early as 2021 that it would reconsider the revocation, has called the Trump administration’s decision to revoke the waiver “inappropriate.” In its announcement, the agency said its predecessors’ decision was not based on any factual errors in the waiver.
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