California sues Trump administration over auto emissions

Los Angeles (AFP) –


California and 23 other states on Friday sued the Trump administration over its bid to restrict their authority to limit auto emissions, setting the stage for a bitter court battle over states' rights and climate change.

The lawsuit is in response to President Donald Trump's announcement this week that his administration was revoking a waiver accorded to California over the past 50 years to set its own vehicle emissions standards which are tougher than those imposed by the federal government.

The waiver over the years has helped the state -- which has some of the most polluted cities in the country -- to improve its air quality and become a model for battling climate change.

"Two courts have already upheld California's emissions standards, rejecting the argument the Trump Administration resurrects to justify its misguided Preemption Rule," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

"Yet, the Administration insists on attacking the authority of California and other states to tackle air pollution and protect public health."

"Mr. President, we'll see you in court," he added.

Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, has warned that the rollback by the Trump administration will force millions of Americans to "breathe filthier air" if it prevails.

"This is the fight of a lifetime for us," she said. "We have to win this, and I believe we will."

Trump's announcement this week came after California reached a deal with major automakers to produce more fuel-efficient cars for the US market, infuriating federal authorities who claimed the agreement violated anti-trust laws.

The administration argues that higher standards lead to higher costs for consumers, depressing the new car market and resulting in more old and unsafe vehicles on the roads.