Coalition of AGs Urge EPA to Keep California Air Quality Protection Waivers

On Tuesday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced in a press release that he, along with 17 other attorneys general, were imploring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approve preemption waiver applications for California’s heavy-duty truck standards.

Attorney General Bonta stated, “The EPA’s decisions on California’s waivers for its heavy-duty truck regulations will have life or death consequences for communities breathing dirty, toxic air. Every year, thousands of Californians die prematurely as a result of air pollution.”

“I urge the EPA to recognize what so many manufacturers are already acknowledging: California’s standards are technologically feasible and critical to drive the nation forward,” Bonta continued

The letter the AGs sent to the EPA asserts that, due to the Clean Air Act, California can request a waiver of preemption from the EPA so California can enforce its own emissions standards on new motor vehicles.

The press release states that in September 2021, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) imposed emission regulations for medium to heavy duty vehicles and engines in state, as well as regulating exhaust emission standards for NOx that are 90% more severe than current federal NOx emission standards. 

According to the press release, the NOx reductions caused by CARB are equivalent to the removal of 16 million light-duty cars’ worth of emissions and are expected to avert around 3,900 premature deaths and 3,150 hospitalizations statewide.

The press release states, “CARB’s Advanced Clean Truck regulations, which aim to accelerate the widespread adoption of zero emission vehicles in the medium and heavy-duty truck sector, are similarly critical for California’s efforts to address climate change and protect public health.”