CBF Statement on Bay States' Litigation Opposing Trump’s Rollback of Critical Auto Emissions Standards

(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—– The Chesapeake Bay Foundation today is commending leaders of the Chesapeake Bay states that are opposing efforts by the Trump Administration to remove California’s critical auto emissions standards.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh announced today he is joining a coalition of attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) to challenge the Trump Administration’s attempt remove California’s clean car standards. Other Chesapeake Bay watershed jurisdictions including New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, and the District of Columbia are also suing over the Trump Administration’s ruling.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell noted today that California’s standards have set a “nationwide example for reducing vehicle emissions” that harm public health and the environment.

Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. are the jurisdictions inside the Bay watershed that have adopted California’s stricter vehicle emissions standards. The tougher vehicle emission standards put in place by California reduce pollutants that ultimately wash into the Chesapeake Bay.

Roughly one-third of the nitrogen pollution in the Bay comes from the air, much of it in the form of nitrogen oxides released from vehicle exhaust and power plants. The airborne nitrogen can fall directly into the water or wash from the land into nearby streams. Pollution from cars is especially damaging to local rivers and streams because it does not travel far.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency recognized the critical importance of limiting air pollution to clean up the Bay, and the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint includes a specific goal to curb air emissions. The problem is, to meet the goal by 2025, the agency is relying on many of the same clean air laws and regulations that the Trump administration is currently trying to weaken or repeal—including efforts to limit emissions from cars and trucks.

In response, CBF’s Vice President of Environmental Protection and Restoration Lisa Feldt issued the following statement:

“A cleaner Chesapeake Bay requires cleaner cars. That’s why so many states that make up the Bay’s watershed already use California’s stricter vehicle emission regulations. Without these tougher standards, it will be even more difficult for the Bay states to reach their 2025 cleanup goals.
“Thank you to the leaders in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, Delaware, and Washington, D.C., who are already stepping up to oppose this latest effort by the Trump Administration to weaken environmental protections.”

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