21 AGs Call on Trump Administration to Drop Proposed Rollback of Clean Car Standards

The rollback is based on “assumptions and modeling that are wholly unsupported, and lead to illogical and unlikely, even impossible results.”

October 29, 2018
Contact: Christopher Gray

Washington, D.C.California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led a coalition of 21 state attorneys general in submitting a multi-state comment letter denouncing a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to freeze national Clean Car Standards for passenger vehicles and light trucks. The comments were submitted on Friday, prior to the close of the comment period.

The multi-state coalition is geographically diverse, including states from every region of the United States and the District of Columbia. Together the coalition represents a combined population of more than 151 million people, or nearly 47 percent of U.S. residents. The AGs delivered their comments in the form of a cover letter and a 137-page document detailing the extensive legal, scientific, economic and public health reasoning behind the coalition’s opposition to the Trump administration’s proposed rollback.

In a call with reporters two days before the close of the comment deadline, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan noted that the severe public health impacts associated with the rollback of national Clean Car Standards exacerbates what is already a deeply troubling trend underlying the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda. The current Clean Car Standards are expected to prevent up to 2,000 premature deaths, 50,000 cases of respiratory ailments and reduce asthma symptoms for 24 million Americans, including 6.3 million children. On October 31, the comment period closes for the Trump administration’s proposal to roll back the Obama-era Clean Power Plan and replace it with a new set of regulations that the EPA estimates will result in 1,400 more premature deaths and 120,000 more asthma attacks each year beginning in 2030. 

In addition to California, state attorneys general from Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Washington, D.C.  joined the multi-state coalition. 


  • “The evidence is clear: we must act now to protect ourselves and future generations from the existential threat of climate change, but instead Trump is driving us on a collision course with catastrophe,” said California Attorney General Becerra. “This is no longer merely a looming threat; in California and throughout the nation, we’re already suffering the impacts of climate change. It makes zero sense to eliminate a successful program that is projected to save vehicle owners $1.7 trillion over the life of the program and will help the U.S. achieve oil independence through significant fuel savings. We demand that the Trump Administration reverse course and withdraw this foolish proposal that will not only cost consumers money, but will endanger their health and well-being.”
  • “The EPA’s attempt to weaken car emissions standards will increase pollution that harms our environment, health and the economy,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. “EPA’s proposal is dangerous to the physical and financial health of all Americans.”
  • “The federal Clean Car Standards to limit tailpipe pollution are our best strategy to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, increase miles per gallon, and save drivers money on gas,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said. “The Trump Administration’s proposal to weaken these critical standards will put the health of our children and seniors at risk, while increasing the rising costs of climate change for our communities. If the Administration does not withdraw this dangerous plan, we are prepared to take them to court.”
  • “The EPA and NHSTA have a responsibility to uphold standards that have, time and time again, been shown to be attainable and critical to reducing the pollutants that harm public health and the environment,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. “We will continue to oppose this administration’s efforts to chip away at protections that combat rapidly accelerating climate change and its dangerous consequences. The right of individual states to adopt pollution standards stricter than federal standards is critical to protecting public health and our unique environmental resources.”
  • “We already know New Jersey’s climate is changing, and with that comes the potential for more life-threatening storms like Superstorm Sandy,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said. “It is time for Washington to step up to combat climate change, not fall down on the job. Unfortunately, EPA is relying on flawed science and flawed policy to cut back on our country’s clean car rules. The Administration is putting special interests above New Jersey, and is setting us years back in the fight against climate change. We already sued EPA once over this process, and if the Federal Government continues to recklessly roll back the clean car standards, we will take them to court again.”
  • “21 AGs and 4 cities are demanding the Trump administration withdraw their proposal to eliminate national clean car standards,” said New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood. “The rule prevents up to 2,000 premature deaths, reduces emissions, and saves consumers money. Gutting it would put millions of Americans at risk.”
  • “North Carolinians have faced the effects of climate change in the past two years in the form of two recent devastating hurricanes and two 500-year floods,” said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein. “We need to do more, not less, to protect people’s health, our environment, and our economy. I urge the Trump Administration, the EPA, and the NHTSA to keep our current clean car standards in place.”
  • “The Trump Administration is reversing course on standards that are working economically and environmentally and I strongly oppose this rollback,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to clean air and pure water, and I’ll stand up to defend those rights and protect Pennsylvania’s environment from anyone who threatens them.”
  • “The Trump Administration’s plan to roll back the Clean Car Standards would put the health of our children, seniors and communities at risk, as well as increase the rising costs of climate change for the states,” said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. “Here in Virginia, we are already seeing how devastating the effects of climate change can be, particularly in Hampton Roads where the world’s largest naval base is threatened by sea level rise and communities deal with nuisance flooding regularly. We need to focus on implementing more policy that will combat the effects of climate change to ensure that we leave our planet a better, healthier place for future generations.”

ABOUT THE STATE ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT CENTER: The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center is a non-partisan Center at the NYU School of Law that is dedicated to helping state attorneys general fight against regulatory rollbacks and advance clean energy, climate change, and environmental values and protections. It was launched in August 2017 with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies. For more information, visit http://www.law.nyu.edu/centers/state-impact.