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D.C. Circuit reaffirms a critical and longstanding component of the Clean Air Act, allowing California to move forward with program to reduce emissions and air pollution from cars and trucks

April 10, 2024

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, a D.C. Circuit panel unanimously dismissed and rejected challenges to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to reinstate its waiver to California’s Advanced Clean Car Program.  

“Emissions from the transportation sector need to be eliminated to achieve our climate and public health goals. We commend the decision, which upholds California’s ability, under the Clean Air Act, to reduce emissions and protect public health and the climate through its Advanced Clean Car Program,” said Veronica Saltzman, an attorney at Clean Air Task Force (CATF). “California has been a longstanding leader in climate action, setting the gold standard for emissions and air pollution regulations. Its leadership has prompted action from many other states and the auto industry itself. Manufacturers continue to make investments in zero-emissions vehicles and have been for quite some time. The chorus of support for stronger regulations to tackle transportation emissions is loud, and the court’s decision will have immense public health and climate benefits in California and across the country.”  

CATF represented the Clean Air Council and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) in the case. 

“Clean Air Council is thrilled the D.C. Circuit Court dismissed petitioners’ claim that California’s higher vehicle emission standards would harm their businesses or states,” said Alex Bomstein, Executive Director of Clean Air Council. “It is a major win that the court ruled that any injury from California’s emissions’ standards was too far-fetched. Now, more than ever, states must be able to take actions, like enacting stronger emissions standards, to protect health and the climate.”  

“We are thrilled the court upheld California and other states’ ability to clean up vehicle pollution affecting national parks and the communities which rely on them,” said Ulla Reeves, Interim Director of NPCA’s Clean Air Program. “NPCA found in our 2024 Polluted Parks report that air pollution harms 97% of national parks at concerning levels, with the most polluted located in California. This decision is one major step toward cleaner air and a livable climate for the public, as well as the culturally and historically significant places we cherish.” 

The Advanced Clean Car Program (ACC), which was granted its initial waiver from EPA in 2013, (1) sets emissions requirements for new cars to reduce CO2 emissions and (2) requires increasing percentages of manufacturers’ fleets to be zero-emissions vehicles, for model years 2017-2025. In 2019, the Trump administration withdrew the waiver, which was then reinstated in 2022 by the Biden administration. Two groups – (1) entities that produce and sell liquid fuels and their raw materials and (2) seventeen states – challenged EPA’s decision to reinstate the waiver. The court’s decision allows the waiver – and the ACC – to stay in place. 

Contatto con la stampa

Samantha Sadowski, responsabile delle comunicazioni, Stati Uniti,, +1 202-440-1717

Circa Clean Air Task Force 

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a global nonprofit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. With more than 25 years of internationally recognized expertise on climate policy and a fierce commitment to exploring all potential solutions, CATF is a pragmatic, non-ideological advocacy group with the bold ideas needed to address climate change. CATF has offices in Boston, Washington D.C., and Brussels, with staff working virtually around the world. Visit and follow @cleanaircatf. 

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