Attorney General Aaron M. Frey, along with 11 other state Attorneys General, sent on July 24, 2019 to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting that they withdraw their rollback of federal Clean Car Rules.
"Maine has been proactive in establishing stringent vehicle emission standards in order to protect the quality of the air we breathe," said Frey. "The Federal government is acting to weaken emission standards and failed to involve states in their decision-making."
In their proposal to roll back federal Clean Car Rules (GHG standards and fuel economy standards), the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also propose to preempt states from maintaining their own more stringent standards. The agencies falsely asserted they had complied with state consultation requirements of a longstanding Executive Order requiring federal agencies proposing a rule that will preempt state law to consult with states early in the process of developing the proposal.
The EPA/NHTSA Clean Car rollback's proposed state preemption would have substantial impact on the preempted states both by:
1) revoking California's waiver under the federal Clean Air Act to adopt and enforce more stringent vehicle emission standards than those adopted nationally, which would thereby also preempt the 12 states that follow CA's lead; and
2) asserting that the states' separate clean car standards are preempted by the statute under which NHTSA sets fuel economy standards.
The EPA went further, proposing that states are preempted from adopting California's standards even if California's standards were to remain un-preempted.
At the time EPA/NHTSA proposed the rollback and asserted the compliance with the Executive Order, the states in the coalition had no knowledge of ever being consulted on the proposed preemption by EPA/NHTSA, so the states requested documents under the federal Freedom of Information Act for any records supporting such consultation. In its much-delayed FOIA response whereby the states sued to compel the agency to respond, the agencies provided no records of any consultation with any state of the rollback proposal's preemption.
The comments filed today request that EPA/NHSTA withdraw the rollback rule and comply with the Executive Order's consultation requirement before issuing another rule, and that EPA/NHSTA correct the public record to reflect that they, in fact, did not comply with the Executive Order.
The states that submitted the comments include Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington.