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Court Reaffirms California’s Longstanding Right to Fight Vehicle Pollution

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom issued the following statement on today’s ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reaffirming California’s decades-old authority to set clean vehicle standards:

“Today the court sided with common sense and public health against the fossil fuel industry and Republican-led states. This ruling reaffirms California’s longstanding right to address pollution from cars and trucks, work started by Governor Ronald Reagan and codified by President Richard Nixon.

The clean vehicle transition is already here – it’s where the industry is going, the major automakers support our standards, and California is hitting our goals years ahead of schedule. We won’t stop fighting to protect our communities from pollution and the climate crisis.”

Governor Gavin Newsom

What you need to know from today’s court ruling:

California is exceeding its zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) goals years ahead of schedule:

Court rejected constitutional argument and challengers’ legal standing:

  • The court rejected the challenge to the constitutionality of the Clean Air Act provision allowing California to set its own clean cars standards.
  • The court held that the fossil fuel industry and Republican state challengers lacked legal standing to press other challenges to California’s Advanced Clean Cars standards that regulate cars  through model year 2025.

Court recognized that auto manufacturers are already exceeding California’s ZEV requirements:

  • “Indeed, record evidence supports the fact that manufacturers already exceed California’s ZEV requirements.”
  • The California Air Resources Board showed “that ‘manufacturers are already selling more qualifying vehicles in California than the State’s standards require,’ suggesting that vacatur of the zero-emission vehicle mandate would not redress Petitioners’ injuries.”

Court highlighted how the climate crisis uniquely impacts California:

  • “In recent decades, California has continued to face significant pollution and climate challenges. It contains seven of the ten worst areas for ozone pollution in the country and six of the ten worst areas for small particulate matter.”
  • “It also faces ‘increasing risks from record-setting fires, heat waves, storm surges, sea-level rise, water supply shortages and extreme heat.’”
  • “And these conditions are exacerbated by climate change.”