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25 attorneys general sue over EPA emissions rule, EV mandate

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(The Center Square) – Attorneys general from 25 states are suing to block a Biden administration emissions rule imposed on vehicle manufacturers.

Led by Kentucky, the 25 states petitioned the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to block an Environmental Protection Agency rule, “Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model Years 2027 and Later Light-Duty and Medium- Duty Vehicles,” from going into effect.

They argue the final rule “exceeds its statutory authority, is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with the law.” The lawsuit asks the court to declare it unlawful.

The EPA proposed the rule through the Clean Air Act to require car manufacturers to create “zero-emission vehicles and plug-in-hybrid electric vehicles in compliance with calculations, medium-duty vehicle incentive multipliers, and vehicle certification and compliance.”

The rule also implements regulations related to controlling “refueling emissions from incomplete medium-duty vehicles, and battery durability and warranty requirements for light-duty and medium-duty electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles” as well as aftermarket fuel conversions, importing vehicles and engines, evaporative emission test procedures, and test fuel specifications for measuring fuel economy.

It’s set to become effective June 17.

The coalition argues the rule “imposes unworkable emissions standards on passenger cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty vehicles” and the EPA is “attempting to use the weight of the federal government to force manufacturers to produce more EVs.”

The rule’s stated goal is for manufacturers to produce enough electric vehicles to account for nearly 70% of cars available for sale within 10 years. The mandate is being pushed as the U.S. does not have the electric grid or infrastructure to support it, critics argue, and as the majority of Americans oppose purchasing electric vehicles. Last year, EV sales in the U.S. were 8.4% of total vehicle sales despite millions in federal rebates and subsidies offered.

Forcing a transition to EVs would “devastate the American economy, threaten jobs, raise prices and undermine the reliability of the electric grid,” the coalition argues.

“The Biden Administration is willing to sacrifice the American auto industry and its workers in service of its radical green agenda,” Kentucky Attorney General Russell Coleman said. “We just aren’t buying it. Demand for EVs continues to fall, and even those who want to buy one can’t afford it amid historic inflation.”

The lawsuit was filed as 50% of likely voters surveyed say the Biden administration should reduce its electric vehicle sales target and car dealers say consumers’ interest in buying EVs has waned, a recent The Center Square Voters’ Voice Poll found.

It also comes after more than 4,000 dealerships from every state sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to “tap the brakes” on his proposed EV mandate. After receiving no response, in January, more than 5,000 dealers sent a second letter urging the president to “slam the brakes,” The Center Square reported.

The EPA’s push comes as car manufacturers’ profits have dropped, with many announcing layoffs and scrapping their proposed EV production plans.

Ford Motor Company lost roughly $4.7 billion on EVs in 2023 and is projected to lose between $5 billion and $5.5 billion this year, Fox Business reported.

Tesla announced it is cutting 10% of its global workforce after reporting an 8.5% year-over-year decline in first-quarter deliveries. Its stock price also dropped over 30% so far this year, “erasing billions of dollars in market capitalization,” The New York Times reported.

GM also scrapped its plan to build 400,000 EVs, delayed producing its EV pickup trucks at a Michigan plant by one year, and dropped a $5 billion plan to jointly develop EVs with Honda Motor, Reuters reported.

According to a new Gallup poll, only 35% of Americans say they might consider buying an EV in the future. Interest among those who were seriously considering purchasing an EV dropped from 55% in 2023 to 44% today; opposition to purchasing an EV increased from 41% to 48%.

Joining Coleman are attorneys general representing the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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