In an unconfirmed letter to the Commander in Chief, two US Senators from California urged the administration to follow their state’s lead in establishing a phase out date for gas-powered vehicles. Furthermore, President Biden and his team are maneuvering how to reimplement vehicle emissions rules eased by the previous administration.
Per Reuters, Democratic Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein reached out to President Biden in a letter. They urged the administration “to follow California’s lead and set a date by which all new cars and passenger trucks sold be zero-emission vehicles.” Furthermore, the Senators requested President Biden restore California’s authority to set clean car standards.
The authority in question relates back to the National Clean Car standards program established by the federal government in 2010. Under this program, California obtained waivers from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for California’s Advanced Clean Cars program. Under the program, California regulates emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants itself.
In 2019, 13 other states and the District of Columbia had elected to adopt California’s robust greenhouse gas emissions standards. That is, until the Trump administration targeted the state’s Clean Air Act. According to the office of the Attorney General in California:
The EPA revoked portions of the 2013 Clean Air Act preemption waiver it had issued to California for these and other standards. The EPA also finalized its determination that Section 177 of the Clean Air Act would not allow other states to adopt California’s greenhouse gas emission standards.
President Biden has directed the EPA and the NHTSA reconsider Trump’s 2019 decision regarding California’s authority by April. The White House has yet to offer any updates, however.