DC Circuit hands Biden, California a win on clean car waiver

By Niina H. Farah | 04/09/2024 01:25 PM EDT

The appeals court found states and industry groups lacked standing for most of their claims against EPA allowing California to set tougher emissions standards.

This aerial view shows traffic moving along the 110 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles.

This aerial view shows traffic moving along the 110 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 5, 2023. Jae C. Hong/AP

A federal appeals court Tuesday roundly rejected claims by 17 Republican-led states and fossil fuel trade groups seeking to unravel California’s authority to set more stringent emission standards for cars and trucks than the federal government.

The Biden administration in 2022 reinstated California’s EPA waiver under the Clean Air Act after it was revoked in 2019 under former President Donald Trump.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found in a unanimous opinion that both the industry challengers and state coalition failed to show the injuries they claimed from California’s waiver could be fixed by a favorable ruling from the court.


The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, along with other industry challengers, lacked standing to bring their claim under the Clean Air Act, the three-judge panel concluded. The judges also found the states lacked standing for the part of their challenge that claimed California’s waiver violated another federal law that preempted state fuel economy standards.