The Environmental Protection Agency officially reinstated California’s ability to impose its own, more stringent greenhouse gas emission standards and vehicle emissions regulations Wednesday.
The Clean Air Act had allowed for California to enact its own emissions standards if granted a waiver by the EPA, but the Trump administration had revoked that ability. At the time, then-President Donald Trump said the revocation would lead to safe and cheaper vehicles.
But the EPA said the previous administration’s actions were “decided in error and now entirely rescinded.”
“Today, we proudly reaffirm California’s longstanding authority to lead in addressing pollution from cars and trucks,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement. “Our partnership with states to confront the climate crisis has never been more important.”
“I thank the Biden administration for righting the reckless wrongs of the Trump administration and recognizing our decades-old authority to protect Californians and our planet,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “The restoration of our state’s Clean Air Act waiver is a major victory for the environment, our economy and the health of families across the country that comes at a pivotal moment underscoring the need to end our reliance on fossil fuels.”
“California looks forward to partnering with the Biden administration to make a zero-emission future a reality for all Americans,” Gov. Newsom said.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta testified at an EPA hearing last year, imploring the agency to restore the waiver. He said Wednesday’s decision was a “victory for Californians, a victory for the nation and a victory for the planet.”
The EPA’s move also opens up the ability for other states to adopt California’s greenhouse gas emission standards. Mr. Bonta said 15 states have already adopted those standards.