Bennet, Colleagues Defend State Clean Cars Standards Against the Trump Administration’s Unlawful Attack

147 Members of the Senate and House Urge the U.S. Court of Appeals to Reject the Trump Administration’s Effort to Undo State Clean Cars Standards

Denver – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined 28 U.S. Senators and 118 U.S. Representatives in filing an amicus brief in the case of Union of Concerned Scientists, et al. v. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), et al., which is currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. 

The Union of Concerned Scientists led 57 public interest groups and state and local governments in filing petitions for review of the Trump Administration’s final rule claiming to rescind states’ authority under the Clean Air Act to enforce more protective climate pollution standards for passenger cars and trucks.  Bennet and the lawmakers argue this action not only jeopardizes public health by abandoning one of the most effective tools for fighting the climate crisis, but also runs afoul of both the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) and the Clean Air Act by wrongly concluding that federal law preempts state vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards.

“NHTSA’s conclusion that state greenhouse gas emission and zero-emission vehicle standards are preempted by EPCA — and EPA’s decision to revoke California’s waiver, founded in part on that faulty determination — conflict with Congress’ express and consistent intent to ensure that states maintain the authority to regulate vehicle emissions to protect air quality and public health,” wrote Bennet and the lawmakers in the brief. 

Bennet and his colleagues emphasized in the brief that the conclusions used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and NHTSA directly conflict with Congress’ intent in enacting the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and amending it in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. An examination of Congress’ actions over more than forty years demonstrates long-standing, consistent support for state authority to protect their citizens through more protective clean car standards.

“The agencies’ conclusions directly conflict with the letter of EPCA, Congress’ intent in enacting it, and more than forty years of implementation,” continued Bennet and the lawmakers. 

States representing more than half of the nation’s population and nearly 60 percent of the U.S. economy have joined the lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s efforts to strip them of the rights granted to them under the Clean Air Act. Those states, including Colorado and the District of Columbia, are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, the People of the State of Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

In addition to Bennet, the brief was filed by U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeffrey Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tom Udall (D-N.M.),and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). In addition to the U.S. Senators, 118 U.S. Representatives joined the brief. 

The text of the amicus brief is available HERE.