The Environmental Protection Agency will take comment on whether it should uphold the Trump administration's action to limit California’s ability to impose its own vehicle emissions standards.

In a statement, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said he is a “firm believer in California’s long-standing statutory authority to lead.”

He said the Trump administration’s decision in 2019 “to revoke the state’s waiver to enforce its greenhouse gas pollution standards for cars and trucks was legally dubious and an attack on the public’s health and wellbeing.” Reconsidering the waiver’s revocation, he said, would be “a major step forward to restore state leadership and advance EPA’s greenhouse gas pollution reduction goals.” 

In 2019, California announced an agreement with four automakers – Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, and BMW – to begin producing new vehicles for model year 2022 that complied with new state-level emissions requirements. In response, the Trump administration withdrew a Clean Air Act waiver that allowed California to set its own emissions standards.

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EPA says it will specifically seek comment on: whether it was proper for EPA to reconsider a previously issued waiver; whether EPA’s action to withdraw California’s waiver in consideration of the preemption was appropriate; whether the Trump administration’s interpretation of the CAA that enabled EPA to withdraw California’s waiver was appropriate; and whether the interpretation of CAA section 177 that could disallow other states’ ability to adopt California GHG emission standards was appropriate.

EPA plans to hold a virtual public hearing June 2 and will take public comments on its Notice of Reconsideration until July 6.

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