(WASHINGTON, DC)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) today formally petitioned the Trump administration to cancel a recent rule aimed at revoking California’s authority to pursue a state program to cut tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases, saying the rule is “unreasonable” and “not in the public interest.”
The rule attempts to shut down California’s pioneering Clean Cars program, which limits the release of greenhouse gases—and reduces pollutants such as nitrogen oxides—from cars and trucks. It also sets mandates for annual sales of zero-emissions vehicles. Four of the six watershed states (Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania) and the District of Columbia have adopted elements of California’s plan in their efforts to fight climate change, reduce air pollution, and clean up the Bay.
CBF’s petition outlines how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) short-circuited the public’s role in the rulemaking process by including provisions in the final rule that weren’t in the draft version made available for public review and comment.
CBF also contends the rule is “arbitrary and capricious” because NHTSA didn’t respond to comments on significant problems with the draft before issuing the final rule on September 27. The problems include NHTSA’s failure to respond to multiple studies and reports on the looming and catastrophic effects of climate change. Burning fossil fuels to power vehicles is this country’s largest source of greenhouse gas releases driving climate change.
Lisa Feldt, CBF’s Vice President of Environmental Protection and Restoration, released the following statement about the petition:
“Reducing air pollution in the Chesapeake Bay region is critical to restoring this national treasure. Slashing emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutants such as nitrogen oxides is vital to saving the Bay and protecting the health and economic well-being of the 18 million people who live, work, and play in its watershed.
“Roughly one-third of nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake comes from the air and auto exhaust is a significant contributor. Shutting down California’s Clean Cars program undermines watershed states’ efforts to meet the 2025 deadline for adopting policies and practices to restore the Bay.
“Cleaning up the Bay requires a strong partner in the federal government as well as the states. This is the latest example of how the Trump administration’s regulatory rollback agenda could harm the progress we’re achieving towards restoring the Bay.”