Challengers Rev Their Engines To Fight Trump's Auto Emissions Weakening

"WASHINGTON - Just two months after taking office, President Donald Trump in March 2017 traveled to Michigan to announce that he would undo ambitious vehicle emissions standards mandated under his predecessor Barack Obama, portraying the reversal as a boost to the U.S. auto industry centered in the Midwestern state. ...

“The federal government’s math still doesn’t add up after all these months of trying to retool and rework their rule,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said, accusing the administration of failing to comply with federal law in the plan announced on Tuesday.

The challengers getting ready to sue - a coalition of more than 20 Democratic-led states as well as environmental groups - are planning to target much of the analysis and underlying assumptions used by the administration in crafting the plan, which ditches the Obama-era requirement of 5% annual increases in efficiency for cars and trucks through 2026 in favor of 1.5% annual increases.

The plaintiffs are expected to challenge the administration’s contentions that the weaker efficiency standards will reduce future vehicle prices by $1,000 by reducing automaker compliance costs. The administration contends that less expensive sticker prices will entice motorists to more quickly buy new cars that are safer than their older vehicles.

The litigation is expected to be filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit once the 2,000 pages of rules are formally published in the coming weeks. Seven of that court’s 11 active judges were appointed by Democratic presidents, suggesting it may be unfriendly territory for the administration."

David Shepardson and Lawrence Hurley report for Reuters April 1, 2020.

Source: Reuters, 04/02/2020