States Fight for Their Right to Follow California Car Rules

States’ efforts to protect their authority to adopt California’s vehicle greenhouse gas limits could be futile if the Trump administration succeeds with its proposal to strip that power from them.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates vehicle emissions, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with jurisdiction over fuel efficiency, want to eliminate state authority to deviate from federal standards as part of a broader push to freeze fuel economy limits nationwide at 2020 levels.

In its August proposal, the EPA suggested reinterpreting the Clean Air Act to strip away states’ authority to adopt California’s tailpipe standards, even if those limits are upheld.

The proposed change tees up a high-stakes legal fight over the role of states in tackling Earth-warming emissions from transportation, the biggest source of greenhouse gases in the US.

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