The Biden administration is facing legal challenges from Republican-led states over its efforts to reduce pollution produced by car tailpipes, a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The US Court of Appeals for the Columbia Circuit will hear arguments in three cases challenging the Biden administration’s rules targeting cars and trucks. These legal battles have the potential to reach the Supreme Court.
Republican attorneys general argue that these legal challenges are necessary to prevent government overreach. On the other hand, environmental groups and the Biden administration argued that a bad decision could undermine efforts to protect against pollution that contributes to climate change.
At stake in these cases before the appeals court are the 2021 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule strengthening tailpipe pollution limits and the EPA’s 2022 decision restoring California’s authority to set its own tailpipe pollution standards, which are stricter than federal rules. California’s vehicle standards have been adopted by 15 states and the District of Columbia because of the state’s serious air pollution problems.
A separate lawsuit challenges mileage standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These legal challenges were led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who argued that the rules would harm oil and gas-producing states like Texas.
The Biden administration’s promotion of electric vehicles (EVs) as part of its climate agenda has also been linked to legal battles. The administration has included incentives to promote the adoption of electric vehicles in infrastructure and climate laws, but fully electric vehicles currently account for only 6.7% of new car sales in the United States.