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California can once again set its own emissions rules, EPA says

The state is now free to push for stricter standards than the federal government.
Light traffic is seen heading towards Downtown Los Angeles on the 110 freeway, California on April 26, 2021. - In an anticipated reversal of Trump-era policies, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it is preparing for California to restore its right to set its own vehicle emissions standards. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images
Devindra Hardawar
Devindra Hardawar|@devindra|March 9, 2022 5:10 PM

California can now set its own emission standards under the Clean Air Act, the EPA announced today. The decision puts an end to a feud that began when automakers pushed the Trump administration to revisit fuel efficiency rules, which eventually led the former president to revoke California's waiver to declare its own standards in 2019. California is known for pushing stricter emissions requirements than the federal government, standards which have also been adopted by 16 other states and Washington, D.C. 

“Today we proudly reaffirm California’s longstanding authority to lead in addressing pollution from cars and trucks,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement. “Our partnership with states to confront the climate crisis has never been more important. With today’s action, we reinstate an approach that for years has helped advance clean technologies and cut air pollution for people not just in California, but for the U.S. as a whole.”

The EPA also confirmed that other states can once again adopt California's standards. As the LA Times reports, the EPA decision means that California can continue with its plan to ban sales of gasoline vehicles by 2035. In January, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $10 billion plan to accelerate EV adoption, with a focus on making EVs more accessible for low-income consumers, building out more charging infrastructure and electrifying the state's fleet of vehicles.

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California can once again set its own emissions rules, EPA says