California and New York filed a lawsuit on Friday against the Trump administration, in an effort to prevent it from setting greenhouse gas emission and fuel economy standards for cars and trucks and revoking an Obama-era measure aimed at tackling climate change.
The lawsuit was filed along with 22 other states, which argue that the administration’s move is unlawful. Legal experts agree that the states led by California have a strong case, which is certain to drag on into 2020.
Under federal law, each state must adhere to set standards regarding pollution from vehicles, but in the 1970s, California was allowed to implement tougher rules due to the higher number of cars it has. Earlier this week, the waiver was withdrawn by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, ABC News writes.
Because California has long struggled with meeting air quality standards, the state was quick to sue to keep the waiver in place. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom stressed the state “will hold the line in court to defend our children’s health, save consumers money at the pump and protect our environment.”
However, the NHTSA move would affect 13 other states that have adopted California’s standards.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao defended the decision, saying the rules “were making cars more expensive and impeding safety because consumers were being priced out of newer, safer vehicles,” and adding that California’s political agenda cannot be “forced upon the other 49” states.
Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration refused to comment on the lawsuit, it said that its authority to set fuel economy standards predated any state and local programs. But such an argument was disputed by California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who pointed to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that said the NHTSA’s argument was invalid.
“The Oval Office is really not a place for on-the-job training. President Trump should have at least read the instruction manual he inherited when he assumed the Presidency, in particular the chapter on respecting the Rule of Law,” he said in a statement.