May 13, 2022 - Energy & Environment

17 GOP attorneys general sue EPA over California vehicle emission standards

Photo of Michael Regan speaking

EPA Administrator Michael Regan speaks during a press conference at the Department of Justice on May 5. Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

Seventeen Republican attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday for letting California set its own vehicle emission standards.

Driving the news: The suit alleges that EPA Administrator Michael Regan violated the Constitution's doctrine of equal sovereignty by giving California an exemption from the Clean Air Act and allowing the state to impose emissions limits that are stricter than the nationwide standard.

  • The attorneys general argue that doing so allows California to impose its stringent limits on all new vehicles and amounts to favoritism.

The big picture: The exemption was previously granted to California in 2013. Regan restored it this March after the Trump administration revoked it in 2019.

  • Regan said in the announcement that restoring the exemption "reinstates an approach that for years has helped advance clean technologies and cut air pollution for people not just in California, but for the U.S. as a whole.”
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