PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Experts React to EPA Revoking California Vehicle Emission Standards

Published September 17, 2019

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced it will revoke California’s unique standard for vehicle emissions, which is stricter than the national standard.

For decades, California has operated under a waiver from the Clean Air Act, allowing it to more-heavily regulate tailpipe emissions from cars and trucks – a standard 13 other states and the District of Columbia also eventually followed. This new EPA rule will prevent any state from imposing emissions standards that deviate from federal regulations.

The following statements from energy and environment experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments from our environmental and energy experts, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Media Specialist Billy Aouste at [email protected] and 312/377-4000.

“California never had any legal right to set tighter restrictions than the federal government. The Trump administration deserves praise for putting a halt to the chaos sought to be imposed on the American people and the American economy by California and the environmental Left.”

James Taylor
Senior Fellow for Environmental Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“Once again, the Trump administration is following the law as written, not as environmental zealots outside of the government and within the former Obama administration thought it should have been written. Because California is a large market, the federal waiver has imposed Californians’ preferences for fuel economy and tastes in vehicle characteristics upon the nation as a whole.

“The 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act specifically preempts states from adopting or enforcing laws or regulations ‘related to fuel economy standards,’ which California was allowed to do through its waiver. The Trump administration is right to end this ‘one state dictates to everyone’ car and truck policy.”

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News
[email protected]


“The size of California’s market means that its emissions standards become de facto national ones. However, by federal law California or any other state is not legally entitled to trump (no pun intended) federal standards. This move by the administration just ensures that the climate zealots in the California Legislature don’t get to dictate policy to the rest of the country.”

Tim Benson
Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]