Attorneys general of 23 states filed a lawsuit today challenging the President Trump administration’s rollback of fuel economy standards. The lawsuit, filed in a D.C. Circuit Court, says the rollbacks violate the Clean Air Act, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.
The attorneys general of Michigan, Colorado and California held a press call to discuss the lawsuit and how the COVID-19 pandemic has made the nation’s need to maintain clean air standards more dire.
Michigan needs to take steps to reduce air pollution, Attorney General Dana Nessel said. Michigan has some of the highest cases of COVID-19, a virus impacting the respiratory system. With the state also facing some of the highest rates of asthma in the U.S., protecting clean air is paramount.
“The Trump administration has just abandoned any duty owed to future generations of Americans to leave behind some sort of a regulatory framework that’s capable of withstanding the reality of the world that we live in now,” Nessel said.
The Trump administration rolled back regulations on fuel economy at the end of March amid the COVID-19 pandemic, establishing the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles (SAFE) rule.
The (SAFE) rule lessens requirements such as the goals set for car manufacturers. Instead of being responsible for creating cars that can get 54 miles to the gallon by 2025, under previous rules, the goal is 40 miles to the gallon by 2026.
The Clean Car standards, established under former President Barack Obama, sought to reduce greenhouse gas and pushed automakers to increase miles to the gallon.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is leading the lawsuit, said Trump’s new rules embarrass the U.S. on a global scale, just as his response to the pandemic did.
“These new rules will leave us with some of the weakest fuel economy standards in the world, putting us behind our economic competitors like the [European Union], China and India,” Becerra said. “That sounds eerily similar to President Trump’s posture combating the coronavirus, where he’s contempt riding in the caboose and playing golf, while 100,000 Americans die and 36 million Americans lose their jobs.”