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Attorney General Wilson asks EPA to hold all states to emissions rules

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and a coalition of 15 other states have joined in urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to not reinstate California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act, which unconstitutionally allows California—and only California—to regulate which cars we may drive.

Wilson and the attorneys general from 15 states sent a letter recently to EPA Administrator, Michael S. Regan, urging the agency to continue the policy under the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule. The letter argues that the Constitution recognizes the states as equals, and does not give California special rights denied to every other state.

“These are the United States of America, not states uniting with California and what it wants,” Attorney General Wilson said. “One state does not have the power to decide carbon-emission standards for the entire nation.”

Under the Clean Air Act, the prior administration created national standards for vehicle carbon emissions for model years 2021 through 2026, treating all States as equal sovereigns subject to one federal rule. Recently, the Biden Administration proposed that California, and no other state, should be given a “waiver” from national carbon emissions standards and allowed to set its own standards. The waiver, designed decades ago to allow California to manage its severe smog problem, has instead been used by California to target a global issue: fuel efficiency and global warming.

The letter sent by Wilson and his colleagues is to make it clear that any attempt to restore California’s waiver is unconstitutional and causes harm to non-Californians, needlessly driving up the costs of new vehicles and allowing California to exercise power denied to every other State. While the waiver would apply only to California, carmakers would have to make all their vehicles meet California’s rules. In this great union of sovereign states, the Golden State is not the golden child. 

Ohio led the letter. The states joining Ohio and South Carolina in signing the letter to the EPA are: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

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