Carper, Pallone Lead More Than 130 Lawmakers in Urging EPA to Reinstate Waiver for California’s Clean Car Standards

WASHINGTON, D.C.  Yesterday, 139 lawmakers wrote to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan urging him to promptly reinstate the Clean Air Act waiver for California’s Advanced Clean Cars program. The waiver would restore the authority of California and other states to impose emission standards on light duty vehicles that are more stringent than federal standards and to require automakers to sell zero emission vehicles. The lawmakers made their request in letters today that were signed by 26 Senators and 113 members of the House of Representatives.  

The letter was led in the Senate by Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.), Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee Chair Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.). In the House, the letter was led by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Chairman Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), and Reps. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.).

The Advanced Clean Cars program is a long-standing program that allows California and the many other states that have adopted the program to implement more stringent emissions standards in order to improve air quality, protect Americans’ health and welfare, and reduce the pollution that is driving climate change. Congress and EPA have repeatedly recognized California’s right to adopt standards necessary to protect the health and welfare of its residents until the Trump EPA in 2019 reversed course.

“The waiver provides important benefits to the entire nation. By enabling states to adopt standards to protect residents’ public health and welfare, the waiver has spurred significantly greater innovation and development of cleaner vehicle technologies. Similarly, California and other states’ adoption of its zero-emission vehicle program has been critical to fostering the development and introduction of electric vehicles, which are now available everywhere and reduce both pollution and fuel expenses for all Americans,” the lawmakers wrote. “These regulatory programs lead to life-saving air quality improvements, which is especially critical for people of color and low-income communities, who experience disproportionate harm from motor vehicle pollution.”

The lawmakers also wrote that the withdrawal of the waiver by the Trump Administration was both unprecedented and unlawful, going on to note the sweeping negative impacts the decision would have if left in place.

“The mounting threats to health and welfare posed by climate change makes the authority of the states to lead more important than ever. It is vital that the waiver be reinstated to allow pioneering states to continue the process of innovation in clean vehicles. For all these reasons, we urge you to promptly reinstate the waiver,” the lawmakers concluded in their letters to Administrator Regan.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia, which together comprise 36 percent of the auto market, have adopted California’s clean car standards. Four more states are in the process of adopting the standards.

The full letters to Administrator Regan are available here and here.