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US EPA reconsiders the withdrawal of California waiver for GHG and ZEV programs

26 April 2021

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Notice of Reconsideration for its 2019 decision to withdraw the Clean Air Act (CAA) preemption waiver for California GHG and ZEV programs.

“I am a firm believer in California’s long-standing statutory authority to lead,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “The 2019 decision to revoke the state’s waiver to enforce its greenhouse gas pollution standards for cars and trucks was legally dubious and an attack on the public’s health and wellbeing.”

If finalized, this action would restore the ability of the State of California to issue and enforce its own regulations relating to greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy, and would allow other states to adopt California GHG emission regulations. The EPA will accept public comments on the Notice of Reconsideration until July 6.

The EPA announcement follows a parallel action by the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which intends to withdraw its previous regulations and legal analysis regarding preemption under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

Both agencies have been directed to reconsider their 2019 decisions by President Biden’s Executive Order 13990 on “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis”.

The EPA also said it will be taking a separate action to reconsider the previous administration’s final Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule that relaxed CAFE and GHG emission standards for MY 2021-2026 light-duty vehicles. The EPA plans to propose this rule in July 2021.

Source: US EPA