California’s ability to regulate its own air quality is being defended by five automakers this week. BMW, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen Group, and Volvo have filed a motion to defend the Golden State’s waiver, issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency, that allows the state to limit the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by vehicles sold within its borders.
As a result of severe air pollution in the 1960s, then-California Governor and future Republican hero Ronald Reagan created the California Air Resources Board to set a statewide approach to managing air quality. But in recent years, the party of Reagan has been working double-time to undo the move.
Former President Donald Trump was determined to prevent CARB from regulating California’s air. In September 2019, Trump revoked California’s waiver under the clean air act, with the intention of bringing it under an Environmental Protection Agency that had been weakened by executive branch edict. Trump’s attack on California’s air was backed by automakers like Toyota and GM, who have sought to water down fuel efficiency standards.
But not all automakers are on board with a plan to pollute the planet for as long as possible. In 2020, BMW, Ford, Honda, VW Group, and Volvo agreed to a 17 percent emissions cut with CARB, and it’s that same group of automakers that has filed a motion to intervene, supporting California and the EPA’s reinstatement of CARB’s waiver.
“We support the EPA’s recent Waiver Decision to allow California and other states to protect people’s health and combat climate change by establishing and enforcing air pollution standards and zero emission vehicle requirements. This is the right thing to do for people and the planet—but it also is critical to the automotive industry’s future success,” said Ford Chief Policy Officer and general counsel Steven Croley.