Lawmakers press EPA to allow Calif. emissions standards

Source: Camille von Kaenel, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, June 19, 2017

Dozens of lawmakers, including a handful of Republicans, joined a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt urging him to maintain California’s ability to set its own stringent vehicle emissions standards.

Seventy-six members — including dozens of California Democrats and Republican Reps. Carlos Curbelo of Florida and Mike Coffman of Colorado — called on Pruitt to not pre-empt California and 12 states that have signed onto its vehicle requirements. Curbelo and Coffman are members of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus.

Pruitt told House appropriators yesterday that “currently the waiver is not under review,” but did not say whether he would never revoke California’s allowance or whether he would grant new waivers.

The lawmakers’ letter said California’s standards are a “classic example of federal-state cooperation,” a principle Pruitt has espoused.

“If the administration is unwilling to support strong federal fuel efficiency and emission standards, it is more important than ever that states be allowed to continue driving innovation, consumer choice, and environmental and public health improvements through strong state standards,” the letter says. “States should decide for themselves if they want to follow California’s lead or not.”

The states’ rights fight over California’s vehicle requirements has attracted a widening group of policymakers, including from states that have not signed on to follow the tougher version of the rules (Greenwire, June 9).

California regulators have vowed to maintain their current standards. The Trump administration is expected to decide by April 2018 whether to lower the federal requirements.

“Should states seek to raise vehicle emission standards in the future as currently allowed under the Clean Air Act, we would urge you to evaluate any waiver requests on the merits and in compliance with federal law and longstanding precedent,” the letter said.