NRDC Takes Trump to Court for Clean Car Rollback

The lawsuit is in response to the administration’s latest attempt to dismantle states’ clean car progress—and, in the process, destroy our climate and health.

A California car smog check center in Los Angeles

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Last week, when the Trump administration moved to block California and other states from using their authority to set their own vehicle emissions standards, it attempted to reopen a legal battle that’s already been waged—and lost—by automakers and the Bush administration.

So NRDC and our partners are suing the U.S. Department of Transportation. “Congress specifically gave California and other states the authority to fight vehicle pollution [under the Clean Air Act],” says David Doniger, senior strategic director of NRDC’s Climate & Clean Energy Program. “Despite the wild imaginings of the Trump administration, there’s nothing in the fuel economy law that blocks authority.”

Cars and trucks are the largest climate polluters in the country, emitting more carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollution than power plants or any other industry. California, joined by 13 other states, took the lead to address this problem—and in a historic deal 10 years ago, the federal government agreed to match California’s standards nationwide. But last year, the Trump administration went in reverse, proposing to gut federal standards for climate pollution and fuel economy—and is now trying to block California and other states from doing any more.

“We will continue to fight for the right of state leaders to protect their citizens from harmful pollution and to address the threat of climate change,” Doniger says. “We are confident that at the end of the day, we will win.”

Don't let Trump and the EPA undermine clean car standards

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