The Trump administration has asked a federal judge in Washington, D.C., to reject a California lawsuit that asserts the state’s right to set limits for carbon dioxide tailpipe emissions.
The motion was filed in mid-October but became public only yesterday, Bloomberg News reports.
The U.S. Dept. of Justice notes that only the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has the power to set fuel economy standards. The department contends that any standard which regulates CO2 is by definition also a fuel economy standard, since CO2 emissions are directly linked to fuel consumption.
California has been allowed, under the Clean Air Act of 1970, to set its own vehicular emission standards for hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen and carbon monoxide. The state passed legislation in 2002 to add regulations for greenhouse gases, including CO2.
The state imposed its first such standards for 2009 model cars. That was two years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that CO2 is, indeed, a pollutant.
Since then, the California Air Resources Board, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and NHTSA have been coordinating their overlapping regulations. But the state’s increasingly tougher CO2 standards through 2025 would be more stringent than those the Trump administration intends to unveil as soon as this month.
California’s lawsuit to defend its regulatory powers was filed before the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., in September. The case has been joined by 22 other states and the District of Columbia, along with the cities of Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.
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Oliver Schmidt, the Volkswagen AG manager found guilty of violating U.S. emission laws, says his superiors and “high-ranking” company lawyers coached him how to lie about the cheating.
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