In summary

The Trump administration today reinstated federal greenhouse gas rules on cars and trucks, backing down from its suspension of climate standards on the transportation industry.

The Trump administration today reinstated federal greenhouse gas rules on cars and trucks, backing down from its suspension of climate standards after legal pressure from California and others.

The decision published in the Federal Register means states will be required to measure and track on-road greenhouse gas emissions and set local targets to reduce transportation emissions on national highways.

It signifies a win for California and seven other states, which last week sued the U.S. Department of Transportation for both delaying and suspending what is known as the Greenhouse Gas Performance Measure, a program crafted by the Obama administration and finalized days before President Trump took office.

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California Attorney General Xavier Becerra described the reversal as a victory that “will help us tackle climate change.” In the United States, the transportation sector is the largest source of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions.

Smog-fueling traffic in the Newhall Pass. Photo by Jeff Newhall via Flickr

In another legal move this week, Becerra filed an amicus brief petitioning the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to rehear a case involving a federal ban of hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) in their products.

The plea comes after a three-judge appeals panel ruled last month that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lacked the authority to ban HFCs, a potent greenhouse gas, under the Clean Air Act. California law requires the state to reduce HFCs by 40 percent by 2030.

“We need the EPA to act in concert with us to close a very big loophole that allows these dangerous chemicals to continue to be used despite the availability of less polluting alternatives,” California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols said in a news release.

The air board, the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency joined the amicus brief.

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