- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Demands Trump Administration Withdraw Rollback of Clean Car Rule
BOSTON — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general and four major cities in demanding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) withdraw their environmentally-destructive and costly plan to roll back federal limits on tailpipe pollution from cars and trucks.
“The federal Clean Car Standards to limit tailpipe pollution are our best strategy to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, increase miles per gallon, and save drivers money on gas,” AG Healey said. “The Trump Administration’s proposal to weaken these critical standards will put the health of our children and seniors at risk, while increasing the rising costs of climate change for our communities. If the Administration does not withdraw this dangerous plan, we are prepared to take them to court.”
In comments sent to EPA and NHTSA today, the coalition argues that the agencies’ plan to throw out the Clean Car Standards is illegal and poses serious harm to public health, the economy and the environment. The proposed rollback would freeze standards for at least six years, resulting in Americans spending billions of dollars more on gas.
According to today’s comments, the agencies’ proposal blatantly disregards warnings from the scientific community that rolling back protections such as the Clean Car Standards will aggressively accelerate global warming and lead to temperature increases, ocean warming, sea level rise, increased hospitalizations, and extreme weather events. This month’s report and dire warnings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emphasize the critical importance of maintaining the current Clean Car Standards.
Globally, the transportation sector is the fastest growing source of dangerous greenhouse gas pollution. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the transportation sector has surpassed the electric power sector and is now the nation’s largest source of carbon dioxide emissions. Cars and light duty trucks make up 60 percent of the country’s transportation sector and are the main driver of U.S. dependence on oil, including foreign imports. In Massachusetts, the transportation sector is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
As the comments argue, the EPA and NHTSA’s proposal also seeks to unlawfully revoke the authority of states to enforce stronger standards to protect their residents. The Clean Air Act authorizes California to adopt emissions standards that are more stringent than the federal standards and allows other states to adopt those same standards.
Massachusetts is one of 12 states that have adopted California’s stricter standards. The proposed rollback threatens Massachusetts’ ability to meet the greenhouse gas emission reductions mandated by the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act, which require a reduction of emissions of 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050.
Beginning in 2010, EPA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the California Air Resources Board agreed to establish a single national program to limit greenhouse gas emissions from model year 2012–2025 vehicles. This program allows automakers to design and manufacture vehicles that will comply with tailpipe standards in all states. In January 2017, EPA determined, in its “midterm evaluation,” that the 2022-2025 standards are readily achievable by the auto industry and that “automakers are well positioned to meet the standards at lower costs than previous estimated.”
However, in April 2018, EPA arbitrarily reversed course and claimed that the greenhouse gas emissions standards for model years 2022–2025 vehicles should be scrapped. The Administration offered no evidence other than a meager record of self-serving industry analysis to support this decision and deferred further analysis to a forthcoming rulemaking. A coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia—who together represent 44 percent of the U.S population and 43 percent of the national new car sales market—sued the agency in July over its decision to withdraw the agency’s evaluation supporting the standards.
On Aug. 2, 2018 – the day the Trump Administration officially announced its proposed rollback – AG Healey led a coalition of 19 states and the District of Columbia in releasing a joint statement announcing an intent to sue the Administration over the proposal.
Joining AG Healey in filing today’s comments are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District. of Columbia, and the mayors of Oakland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.