FILE - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined a lawsuit with 23 other AGs against the Environmental Protection Agency's attempt to revoke a 2013 waiver allowing California to set its greenhouse gas (GHG) and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standards.

The EPA under Section 209 of the Clean Air Act allows California to choose its emission regulations instead of adhering to federal regulations unless the state:

• Was arbitrary and capricious in its finding that its standards are, in the aggregate, at least as protective of public health and welfare as applicable federal standards;

• Does not need such standards to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions; or

• Has standards and accompanying enforcement procedures not consistent with this section.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States’ Court of Appeals in the Washington circuit, requests a review of “The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles rule that would rescind the Golden State’s authority to enforce its Advanced Clean Car (ACC) regulations regarding GHG and ZEV programs.

That would mean no state could set stricter emission controls than those chosen by the federal government because Section 177 of the Clean Air Act allows other states to wholly or partially adopt California’s regulations, which 13 have mirrored, according to The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

The filing includes a protective petition for the court to review a separate National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulation, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which preempts California’s GHG and ZEV standards.

The group originally filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the constitutionality of NHTSA regulations, which the federal government moved to dismiss, saying it belonged in the D.C Circuit Court.

The protective petition allows the group judicial review to challenge NHTSA regulations if the district court lacks jurisdiction.

Nessel notified the House and Senate appropriations chairs of the state joining the lawsuit and is offering to provide additional information, a news release said.

“Attempting to strip states’ of their rights to protect the environment seems to be a recurring theme for the current administration and while Michigan has not adopted California’s Advanced Clean Car Standards, I am joining California to fight against the Trump administration’s campaign to end that state’s longstanding authority to set its own vehicle emissions standards,” Nessel said. “This latest attack on states’ efforts to protect their residents and environment is an abuse of federal authority and should be opposed.”

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.