06/28/2019 - Legal Analysis

California’s First Legal Battle over the New Car Rules

by Caitlin McCoy

California has already begun fighting the administration’s efforts to weaken fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks. In May 2018, a coalition of states led by California filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the D.C. Circuit.

The states argue that EPA failed to follow its own procedures and to release sufficient technical information to support its decision to re-open the rulemaking process. With the focus on the impending final fuel economy and emissions rules, this case hasn’t received much attention, perhaps because it involves a complex web of regulatory and administrative law issues.

This short post describes what is happening in the California v. EPA case, how the court will walk through the issues and arguments presented, and how the case’s outcome could influence the inevitable legal battle over the new vehicle standards when they are finalized. Click here for the full text.

We have three blog posts that provide background on the legal landscape surrounding the administration’s proposed vehicle rules: our first post examines the potential for preemption of California’s Clean Air Act waiver by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, a second post summarizes the administration’s proposed rule and preemption plan, and a third post covers the proposal to reinterpret the Clean Air Act to ensure no state can adopt California’s GHG standards.