On April 5, 2019, California files a federal lawsuit seeking the underlying data and analyses behind the proposed rollback of the federal Clean Car Standards. The suit seeks to compel the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to produce requested background information. The suite contends that the NHTSA and the EPA failed to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by the California Air Resources board in early September 2018.
In the press release, Governor Gavin Newsom is reported stating “We must demand clean air for our kids, and our country must take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, the Trump Administration is willfully withholding information on their ill-advised rollback of federal vehicle emission standards because there is simply no science or logic to back up their actions.”
The Trump Administration released its rollback proposal in August. In place of commonsense standards to increase vehicle fuel efficiency and reduce GHG emissions, as federal law requires, the proposal would freeze the standards at the 2020 level through the 2026 model year. The administration’s proposal would likely also block many other states that use California standards from moving forward. If California were required to follow the federal rollback proposal, global warming emissions could increase by almost 15 million metric tons per year by 2025. That is roughly equivalent to putting an additional 2.8 million cars on the state’s roads for a year. Emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a key smog-forming pollutant in the state, would increase to 430 tons in 2030.