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Oregon joins California in suing Trump administration over auto emissions

Attorney General Rosenblum joined at least 23 other Attorneys General in a lawsuit after the Trump administration pulled California's right to set its own emissions standards.

Posted: Sep 20, 2019 12:20 PM
Updated: Sep 20, 2019 1:33 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon will join the legal backlash against a Trump administration decision to take away California's right to set its own auto emissions standards, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced on Friday.

“Why is the federal government protecting polluters and big oil, over the wishes of states that choose to protect their environment? Families want less pollution and better gas mileage for their cars,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “Today, with basically the stroke of a pen, the federal administration just set back years of hard work on reducing carbon emissions. Joining this lawsuit is a 'no brainer' to demonstrate our commitment to this fight, not only to protect Oregonians — but also to save our planet.”

The lawsuit, leveled against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), challenges the decision to bar states from setting their own standards. Oregon joins at least 23 other Attorneys General in filing suit.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted California permission to set its own standards in 2013. Oregon, 12 other states and the District of Columbia followed California's example.

"In addition, the Federal government itself adopted emissions standards that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and also decided to raise fuel efficiency to over 50 miles per gallon by 2026," Rosenblum's office said, referencing an Obama-era decision.

Since President Trump took office, his administration has pursued weakening those standing greenhouse gas emissions standards and freezing Federal mileage standards to 37 miles per gallon from 2020-2026.

While current federal policymakers have signalled that the relaxation of standards is being done to benefit American industries, major automakers have indicated that they can meet stronger standards.

"With this rule change, the Federal government claims that California and other states are prohibited from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from cars," Rosenblum's office said. "It is estimated that due to higher standards, states have reduced emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons annually, and encouraged the development of emission controls technologies."

In all, the suit includes Attorneys General from Oregon, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia; as well as the cities of Los Angeles and New York.

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