New York is joining California’s push to keep stricter auto emissions standards in place.
Attorney General Letitia James signed on to a lawsuit spearheaded by the Golden State to bar President Trump from revoking a rule that allows states to set tougher emissions benchmarks for gas-guzzling vehicles than those of the federal government.
"There is no legal rhyme or reason for the Trump Administration to revoke states’ right to set their own standards,” James said. “The attempt to rob New York and other states of their authority to adopt standards to stanch this pollution ... will only hurt our environment.”
The lawsuit targets the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has been working with the Environmental Protection Agency on plans to weaken Obama-era fuel efficiency standards.
The federal Clean Air Act allows California to set its own clean air standards that are more stringent than the rest of the country. Several other states including New York also adopt the tougher rules and they cover an estimated 40% of vehicles sold in the U.S.
The legal battle, which could take years to resolve, pits states that tout their environmental bona fides against a president who wants to boost the economy by slashing red tape and regulations.
“Trump’s latest move is bad for our air. Bad for our health. Bad for our economy,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom.
California says its regulations requiring automakers to sell more zero-emission vehicles and plug-in hybrid cars are also in danger. The state aims to lead the nation by putting more than 1 million of the green vehicles on the road by 2025.
The lawsuit was announced on the same day as tens of thousands of high school students walked out of class in New York to protest climate change.
Trump claims that the California anti-pollution rules effectively drive up auto production costs for the entire nation, raising car sticker prices, costing corporate profits and killing jobs.
“We will not let political agendas in a single state be forced upon the other 49,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said.