Statement: Biden moves toward allowing California to return to setting stricter vehicle emission standards

Media Contacts

EPA seeks public input in first step toward restoring California’s clean cars waiver

Environment California

The Biden administration announced Monday it would begin to undo the Trump administration’s attempt to block states such as California from setting stronger tailpipe emissions standards than the federal government. Specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted a notice seeking public input for the purposes of rescinding the Trump’s administration’s action. This is the first step toward reaffirming California’s clean cars waiver under the Clean Air Act and allowing other states to adopt California’s more stringent greenhouse gas emissions standards and zero emissions vehicle mandates. 

Vehicle tailpipes are a major source of health-harming air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. After seven years of decline, air pollution started rising in 2016. By 2018, 108 million Americans lived in areas that experienced more than 100 days of degraded air quality. 

California is still plagued with poor air quality. Last week’s American Lung Association State of the Air report showed that 98 percent of Californians now live in places where the air is unsafe to breathe. 

Experts from Environment California and CALPIRG issued the following statements:

“With raging wildfires, dirty air and drought threatening our environment, California suffers from some of the most severe climate and pollution impacts we’ve seen to date,” said Laura Deehan, state director at Environment California. “Thankyou President Biden for restoring California’s ability to lead the way for clean air and cleaner cars.”

“Today, Californians can breathe easier because President Biden has reaffirmed our state’s right to create and enforce our own clean cars standards — which in various forms have helped make our air cleaner and healthier for 55 years,” said Emily Rusch, CALPIRG executive director. “Reversing the Trump administration’s policies that unleashed pollution and harmed public health is crucial to a better future for California and all the states emulating our landmark vehicular pollution and air quality laws.”