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Rhode Island Joins Coalition of 17 States To Defend National Clean Car Rules

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin today joined a coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia in suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to preserve the greenhouse gas emission standards currently in place for model year 2022-2025 vehicles. The standards save drivers money at the pump, reduce oil consumption, and curb greenhouse gases.

"EPA's reversal for greenhouse gas emissions standards for automobiles manufactured model years 2022 through 2025 with no scientific proof or sound policy is another step in the wrong direction for our country and our efforts to reduce emissions, and is in violation of the Clean Air Act," said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin. "The automobile industry has met and in some cases exceeded the current standards, which proves they are reasonable and encourages innovation in the industry."

Beginning in 2010, the EPA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and California Air Resources Board established a single national program of greenhouse gas emissions standards for model year 2012-2025 vehicles. This program allows automakers to design and manufacture to a single target.

The federal standards the states are suing to protect, for model year 2022-2025 vehicles, are estimated to reduce carbon pollution equivalent to 134 coal power plants burning for a year and to save drivers $1,650 per vehicle. At present, the car industry is on track to meet or exceed these standards.

Last year, the EPA affirmed these standards were appropriate based on an extensive record of data. The California Air Resources Board also affirmed the standards were appropriate and that the federal government should continue to support a single national program for all states.

On April 13, 2018, however, the EPA, without evidence to support the decision, arbitrarily reversed course and claimed that the greenhouse gas emissions standards for model years 2022-2025 vehicles should be scrapped. The Administration offered no evidence to support this decision and deferred any analysis to a forthcoming rulemaking designed to try to weaken the existing 2022-2025 standards.

Today's lawsuit was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The lawsuit is based on the fact that the EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously, failed to follow its own Clean Car regulations, and violated the Clean Air Act.

Joining Attorney General Kilmartin in filing today's lawsuit were the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania (also filed by and through its Department of Environmental Protection), Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Minnesota filed by and through its Pollution Control Agency and Department of Transportation. This coalition represents approximately 44% of the U.S. population and 43% of the new car sales market nationally.

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