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Smog hangs over Los Angeles on June 11, 2019. Photo: Getty Images

A group of 23 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit on Wednesday challenging the Trump administration’s rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards.

The big picture: The administration's final rule on the Clean Car Standards was announced in late March, targeting future fuel economy standards and requiring automakers to make improvements of 1.5% annually through 2026, rather than the previously anticipated 5% increase in efficiency requirements.

Why it matters: The long-anticipated lawsuit is arguably one of the most high-profile battles between the Trump administration and Democratic states over environmental regulations, writes Axios' Amy Harder.

  • The administration has argued the new rule will lower car prices and save automakers billions of dollars in regulatory costs.
  • The states, however, argue the measure will increase costs to customers and say it violates laws that require the federal government to regulate environmental standards.
  • The states also argue that the administration "relied on an analysis riddled with errors, omissions, and unfounded assumptions in an attempt to justify their desired result."

What they're saying:

“From the outset, President Trump and his administration have shown absolutely no regard for protecting our environment and fighting climate change. This replacement rule will not only make our air dirtier, putting the health of our children, seniors, and communities at risk, but it will also increase the climate change costs for individual states.”
— Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring in a news release

Our thought bubble: These regulations were the most sweeping climate-change policies from President Obama and hugely impacted automakers. The automakers now find themselves stuck between the administration and states like California, which are leading with more aggressive standards.

What to watch via the New York Times: "The battle is widely expected to reach the Supreme Court."

Go deeper

Newsom addresses DNC from site of California wildfires: "Climate change is real"

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) used his Democratic National Convention address on Thursday to highlight the real-world effects of climate change, speaking just a mile from the site of one of the over 370 wildfires that are currently ravaging his state.

What he's saying: "Well, I confess this is not where I expected to be speaking here tonight," said Newsom, who was originally set to speak at the DNC but remained in California to monitor the fires. "We are just coming off a record heat wave that led to 130 degree temperatures — the highest temperature ever recorded in California."

15 mins ago - Health

Health care in the New Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As America emerges from the pandemic, here's a special Axios AM Deep Dive on the Biden administration's health care agenda.

31 mins ago - World

Palestinian Authority announces new COVID restrictions as cases surge

A nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images

The Palestinian Authority on Saturday announced fresh coronavirus restrictions, including a partial lockdown, for the occupied West Bank as COVID-19 cases surge.

The big picture: The new measures come as Israel, which leads the world in vaccinations, faces increased pressure to ensure Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have equal access to vaccines.

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