Attorney General Cameron Joins 16-State Coalition in Letter Against EPA Policy Granting California Control of Car Emission Standards

July 7, 2021 – Attorney General Daniel Cameron today joined a coalition of 16 attorneys general in urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to not reinstate California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act, which unconstitutionally allows California—and only California—to regulate new car emissions standards.

Under the Clean Air Act, the Trump 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 only California 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 global warming.

The coalition points out that “allowing California to set carbon-emission standards requires vehicle manufacturers to make ‘changes to the entire vehicle.’ Car manufacturers, given the choice between creating two vehicle fleets versus one that complies with the stricter California standard, have no real choice at all.” This means that California will effectively dictate the standards nationwide.

“Kentucky should not have to follow emissions standards set by California,” said Attorney General Cameron. “California’s policy priorities are very different than those of the Commonwealth, and California must not be given regulatory control over Kentucky or any other sovereign state.”

The letter argues that the Constitution recognizes the states as equals and does not give California special rights denied to every other state. The attorneys general make it clear that any attempt to restore California’s waiver is unconstitutional and causes harm to Kentuckians and residents of the other 49 states by allowing California to exercise power denied to every other state. As the letter points out, “in our union of equally sovereign [s]tates, the Golden State is not a golden child.” By opposing the Biden Administration’s special treatment for California, General Cameron is standing up for Kentucky’s rights as a sovereign government in our federal system.

Attorney General Cameron joined the Ohio-led letter alongside Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.

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