Trump Moves to Halt States’ Ability to Curb Pollution

WASHINGTON  – President Donald Trump said today his administration will move to prevent states from issuing vehicle standards that protect their citizens from harmful pollution, including the carbon dioxide causing climate change.

Congress gave California the authority to set these standards as part of the Clean Air Act, and it allowed other states to join California. Nothing in the fuel economy law takes away that authority.

The following is a comment from Luke Tonachel, director for clean vehicles and fuels at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):

“State leaders need the ability to protect their citizens from dangerous air pollution and the ravages of our climate crisis. Only the mean-spirited Trump administration would think it makes sense to deny clean air to 118 million Americans in 14 states.

“Even the automakers have called on the president to work with the states on a negotiated outcome that continues to make progress on curtailing tailpipe pollution. The administration should drop this wrongheaded idea and work with state leaders, not against them.”

The following is a comment from David Doniger, a senior attorney at NRDC:

“States’ ability to set tailpipe emission standards to protect their citizens was laid out clearly in the Clean Air Act, and nothing in the fuel economy law takes away that authority. Federal judges have twice ruled that states have the authority to set standards to curb carbon pollution.

“We will fight this in court – and we will win.”

(For more on why this maneuver will fail in court, see David's latest blog here.)

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​