NJ joins lawsuit against Trump administration to keep CA’s car emission rules

New Jersey is joining 22 other states in suing the Trump administration over a new rule that bars states from setting their own emissions standards for cars.

The lawsuit, led by California, was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. Friday.

The Trump administration on Thursday revoked California’s authority to set its own auto emission standards that are stricter than the ones in place under federal law. The state was granted that power in the 1970s under a waiver from the federal Clean Air Act.

The lawsuit argues that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not have the authority to revoke California’s waiver.

Federal law also allowed other states to adopt California’s stricter standards. The law, known as Section 177 under the Clean Air Act, has been adopted by more than a dozen states. New Jersey has enforced the law since 2009 on cars and light duty trucks.

“It is bad enough that the administration has turned a blind eye to climate change, but now our federal government is trying to stop states like New Jersey from tackling this existential threat,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. “For decades, states have regulated vehicle emissions to protect the health and safety of our residents, and federal law gives us the right to do so.”

The Trump administration has been working on setting new auto emission rules. But in July, Ford, BMW, Honda and Volkswagen announced they would voluntarily follow California’s rules, bypassing the Trump administration.

The Associated Press contributed to this reporting.