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California Can Keep Its Strict Vehicle-Emission Limits, Court Rules

California Can Keep Its Strict Vehicle-Emission Limits, Court Rules

Nissan and Volkswagen electric cars sit parked at a Charge Point EV charging station in Corte Madera, Calif., on July 28, 2023. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Sophie Li

Sophie Li

4/12/2024

Updated: 4/14/2024

California can continue to set its own limits for motor vehicle emissions after a federal court ruling April 9, despite legal challenges from fuel companies and 17 Republican-led states.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Appeals Court upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to grant California a waiver, allowing the state to set stricter tailpipe emissions limits and electric-vehicle requirements than those set by the federal government, which were revoked by the EPA in 2019 under then-President Donald Trump and later restored by President Joe Biden.
“Today the court sided with common sense and public health against the fossil fuel industry and Republican-led states. This ruling reaffirms California’s longstanding right to address pollution from cars and trucks, work started by Gov. Ronald Reagan and codified by President Richard Nixon,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in an April 9 statement.
Under the regulations—which the EPA initially granted in 2013—manufacturers must reduce carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles by 34 percent between 2017 and 2025 and ensure that at least 15 percent of new vehicles sold in the state are electric-powered, also by 2025.
The court rejected the plaintiffs’ lawsuits, led by Ohio, claiming that the regulation violated equal sovereignty, the idea that all states in the nation are equal.
Additionally, the panel found that the states didn’t show California’s emissions standards would raise costs for gas-powered vehicles in their areas.
The court supported its ruling by emphasizing the “climate crisis” affecting the Golden State.
“In recent decades, California has continued to face significant pollution and climate challenges. It contains seven of the 10 worst areas for ozone pollution in the country and six of the 10 worst areas for small particulate matter,” the court’s ruling read.
Judges Robert Wilkens, an appointee of President Barak Obama, and J. Michelle Childs and Bradley Garcia, two appointees of President Joe Biden, made up the panel.
In 2022, the California Air Resources Board approved a groundbreaking plan to halt the sale of all new gas-powered vehicles in the state by 2035. Major automakers such as Ford, Honda, BMW, and Volkswagen have already committed to complying.
“The clean vehicle transition is already here—it’s where the industry is going, the major automakers support our standards, and California is hitting our goals years ahead of schedule. We won’t stop fighting to protect our communities from pollution and the climate crisis,” Mr. Newsom said.
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Sophie Li

Sophie Li

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Sophie Li is a Southern California-based reporter covering local daily news, state policies, and breaking news for The Epoch Times. Besides writing, she is also passionate about reading, photography, and tennis.

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