Members of Congress press EPA to OK California auto emissions waiver |

Members of Congress press EPA to OK California auto emissions waiver

WASHINGTON (AP) – More than 100 members of Congress urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday to allow states to adopt strict vehicle emissions standards that California regulators adopted two years ago.

In a letter to EPA administrator Stephen L. Johnson, the lawmakers said the agency should not block the tailpipe standards, which were designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars and light trucks by 25 percent and from sport utility vehicles by 18 percent beginning in 2009.

Ten other states have also adopted those standards, which are opposed by automakers, but the rules can’t be implemented until California receives a waiver. EPA has yet to grant one.

“States are leading the way in tackling the most dangerous environmental threat we face. We strongly support the states’ efforts to protect their citizens and their economies,” said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

EPA spokeswoman Jennifer Wood said the agency was reviewing the waiver request.

Automakers, which are trying to block the standards in federal court, have said the law amounts to an attempt to set new fuel-economy standards, which is under the domain of the federal government. The auto industry has said the standards, if adopted, would lead to drastically higher vehicle costs.

Since California began regulating pollution before the federal government, it has special authority under the Clean Air Act to set its own vehicle pollution standards if it gets a waiver from the EPA.

Other states are allowed to adopt either the federal standards or California’s rules.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.