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The high-stakes battle between President Trump and California over auto mileage and carbon emissions rules is getting even messier.

Driving the news: GM, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota and others announced they are joining the Trump administration's side in litigation over its move to block California from imposing emissions rules — and by proxy mileage requirements — that are tougher than federal standards.

The other side: Four other big automakers — Ford, VW, Honda and BMW — did not join the intervention announced Monday. Last summer, those four reached a deal with California on toughening standards through the mid-2020s.

Why it matters: The stark split among giant automakers signals how the powerful industry is struggling to navigate through one of the thorniest regulatory fights in years — and one being fought over a pillar of the Obama-era climate agenda.

  • The Transportation Department and EPA last year proposed freezing Obama-era standards in place (although the EPA has hinted that the final version of the plan to weaken the Obama rules could still require slight increases in stringency).

Where it stands: The Trump administration last month said it's yanking California's waiver under the Clean Air Act to impose its own vehicle emissions rules, which 13 other states follow.

What's happening: The trade group Global Automakers announced the intervention Monday, but it also includes players outside that group including GM. So it's occurring under the auspices of a group called the "Coalition for Sustainable Automotive Regulation."

  • "The decision to intervene in the lawsuit is about how the standard should be applied, not what the standard should be," John Bozzella, CEO of Global Automakers, said in a statement.
  • "The certainty of one national program, with reasonable, achievable standards, is the surest way to reduce emissions in the timeliest manner," he said.

The intrigue: Honda is a member of Global Automakers but declined to join the intervention in the litigation.

  • "Honda is not a participant in this litigation, and it is not contributing any funds supporting our trade association's activity in this area," the company said in a statement to Axios.
  • "We have been very clear on wanting to avoid lengthy and costly litigation on this issue, which will result in a great deal of regulatory uncertainty."

What they're saying: Sen. Tom Carper, the top Democrat on the Senate's environment panel, attacked the move by GM, Toyota and others to join the case on the Trump administration's side.

  • "By aligning themselves with this administration’s reckless and illegal proposal, these companies are actively challenging the rights of states to set their own emissions standards and tackle the climate crisis," he said in a statement.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

18 mins ago - World

Scoop: Biden administration objects to Israeli settlements plan

Israeli PM Naftali Bennett (L) meets with Secretary of State Tony Blinken. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool/AFP via Getty

The Biden administration has privately protested to the Israeli government over its plan to approve the planning and construction of more than 3,000 new housing units in the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: The approvals for new homes in the settlements will be the first since President Biden assumed office, and come after Biden and his top aides personally pressed Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to restrain settlement activity and decrease the number of new housing units.

2 hours ago - World

Pentagon warns of ISIS-K capabilities outside Afghanistan

The site of an airstrike conducted by the U.S. against a planner for ISIS-K in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan in August. Photo: Xinhua via Getty Images

U.S. intelligence believes ISIS-K has the "intent" to eventually launch attacks outside of Afghanistan and could be capable of doing so "somewhere between six or 12 months," a top Pentagon official told senators Tuesday.

Why it matters: The U.S. withdrawal and subsequent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has raised fears that terrorist groups will reconstitute and potentially pose a renewed threat to the U.S. homeland.

Exclusive: Billionaires back new media firm to combat disinformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new public benefit corporation backed by billionaires Reid Hoffman, George Soros, and others is launching Tuesday to fund new media companies and efforts that tackle disinformation.

Why it matters: Good Information Inc. aims to fund and scale businesses that cut through echo chambers with fact-based information. As part of its mission, it plans to invest in local news companies.