The Biden Administration Will Once Again Let California Set Its Own Emissions Standards

The Biden Administration Will Once Again Let California Set Its Own Emissions Standards

The Biden administration is preparing to restore California’s ability to set its own carbon emissions standards on cars, an authority that had been stripped away under former President Donald Trump.

The Washington Post notes that federal officials in the Biden administration will restore a waiver provided to regulators in California that gives them the ability to set their own emissions standards. An official announcement on the move has yet to be made but should be made soon. Moreover, there are more than a dozen other states across the country that have committed to following California’s lead on emissions standards.

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California first set emissions standards for cars registered in the state in 1966 after the skies in Los Angeles became extremely polluted. For decades, the state had the authority to write its own rules but this stopped in 2007 when the Bush administration removed this authority. It was reinstated under the Obama administration but then frozen once again under the presidency of Donald Trump.

“It was a setback and a tremendous shock when the Trump administration decided to remove a previously existing waiver,” the former chair of the California Air Resources Board, Mary D. Nichols, said in a statement. “We’re glad to have it back.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom has previously committed to phasing out the sale of combustion-powered vehicles by 2035 and the reinstatement of this waiver will help him achieve this. The Biden administration itself will also cap carbon emissions on cars and light trucks sold over the next four years while the EPA is then expected to craft rules for vehicles built after 2026.

“It’s worth recognizing that the only reason the feds are where they are on greenhouse gas emission standards for cars is because California went there first,” co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the UCLA School of Law, Cara Horowitz, said. “The importance of California’s authority shouldn’t be dismissed just because the feds have now caught up to California.”

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