California’s ambition to retake the lead on climate change policy in the United States received a major boost on Monday, as the Biden administration moved toward allowing the state to once more set its own car pollution standards, a right revoked under former President Trump.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is reviewing a major Trump-era action that blocked California’s legal authority to set tailpipe emission standards for cars and SUVs that are tougher than federal regulations. After seeking the public’s input, as required by law, the agency intends to rescind the Trump administration’s decision, a spokesman for the agency said.
The EPA’s action has national significance as transportation remains the largest source of planet-warming emissions in the United States, and California, with nearly 40 million people, is the country’s largest auto market. The state’s unique ability to set its own car pollution rules has influenced federal policy for decades, leading to stricter nationwide standards.
Thirteen other states and the District of Columbia follow California’s more stringent standards, altogether accounting for nearly 40% of auto sales in the United States. A smaller number have also signed on to the state’s mandate that automakers produce more zero-emission vehicles.
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