News Release

Statement: EPA returns authority to Washington and 16 other states to limit pollution from cars and trucks

Decision allows Washington to retain stronger than federal clean car standards and continue to cut global warming exhaust from vehicles
For Immediate Release

SEATTLE, WA -- To promote clean air and expedite a reduction of transportation emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday it would restore California’s clean cars waiver under the Clean Air Act. The waiver allows California to enforce its stricter Advanced Clean Cars program, and lets other states with air pollution problems choose to adopt those stronger rules. This action undoes the Trump administration’s attempt to block states from setting stronger tailpipe emissions standards than the federal government.

Vehicle tailpipes are a major source of health-harming air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In 2020, 237.6 million Americans – more than 70% of the population – were exposed to more than a month of elevated levels of ozone and/or fine particulate pollution.

WashPIRG and Environment Washington had called on the Biden administration to strengthen federal fuel economy and vehicle emission standards – and restore states’ authority to determine their own position on this issue – in their "First Things to Fix" report, which outlined 20 environmental protections the president should enact at the start of his term. Washington is one of 17 states that have adopted the Advanced Clean Cars program.

Experts from Environment Washington and WashPIRG issued the following statement:

“States have always been the incubators for climate policy, leading the way to better address the climate crisis,” said Environment Washington Advocate, Pam Clough. “The Trump administration blocked the states from taking action, which was a reckless decision that threatened public health. Thank you, EPA Administrator Michael Regan, for reaffirming that states can and should lead the way for clean air and cleaner cars.”

“Transportation pollution is the nation’s largest source of global warming emissions, and it puts the health of all Americans at risk,” said WashPIRG Advocate, Nicole Walter. “Letting states set vehicle emission standards that support their clean air and climate goals is not only the right thing to do, but it will also help bolster the market for cleaner cars, benefiting all Americans.”

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