Tesla & Rivian Join California’s Lawsuit Against Trump’s EPA & NHTSA

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The National Coalition for Advanced Transport is an association that includes electric vehicle manufacturers Tesla and Rivian together with EV industry supporters such as Charge Point, EVGo, and Plug In America. It also includes several utility companies, such as Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Portland General Electric (PGE), Exelon, and Edison International.

NCAT logo
Credit: NCAT

The group supports the efforts of California’s Air Resources Board to reduce tailpipe emissions and opposes the efforts by the Trump maladministration to roll back fuel economy standards put in place by President Obama. In September, it wrote to the heads of the EPA and DOT protesting the government’s actions. That letter read in part:

We are deeply troubled by yesterday’s report that you intend to revoke California’s longstanding, Congressionally-recognized authority to regulate motor vehicle GHG emissions. Revocation is neither legally nor factually warranted. Moreover, such an action moves our nation backwards at a time when neither our environment nor economic interests can afford further attack.

The time has come to put politics aside and to forge a mutually-beneficial path ahead. Our country has always led the way in technology development and environmental protection. We cannot maintain this leadership if our national government is at war with states representing forty percent of the automotive market. We can and must do a better job of finding common ground. We must try harder.

The letter fell on deaf ears. Not only have the Trumpies rolled back those fuel economy standards, but they have also revoked California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act to set its own emissions standards so long as they are equivalent to or higher than federal standards. California and 22 other states have filed suit asking a court to overturn the actions of the EPA and DOT. This week, NCAT filed a motion with the court asking to be added as a party to the litigation, according to a report by Teslarati.

In its court filing, the group said, “NHTSA’s purported elimination of state authority through the Preemption Regulation adversely affects the marketplace for transportation electrification and deployment of advanced vehicle technologies across the country — undermining business opportunities for utilities, manufacturers, and infrastructure companies.”

The government’s policies have created a schism among auto manufacturers, with some supporting the government and some opposing it. General Motors, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Subaru, Hyundai, and KIA are all cheering for #TraitorTrump, willing to put the entire planet at risk in order to continue cramming fistfuls of dollars into their corporate coffers. Our petition at Change.org to boycott those companies now has over 800 signatures. Feel free to add yours today if you haven’t done so already.

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California is fighting back in other ways as well. This week, it announced it will not purchase vehicles for its numerous state agencies from GM, Toyota, or any of the other companies that support the revocation of its EPA waiver. GM will be the biggest loser from that decision. In 2018, California bought $27 million worth of GM products, most of them Chevrolets.

Once again, General Motors has cast itself as the villain. It aggressively fights Tesla’s efforts to sell cars in several states. It has no or almost no* compelling electric cars on sale (*depending on what you consider the Chevy Bolt), but the company continues to wrap itself in a cloak of green as it promises EVs are coming — at some unspecified point in the future.

Worst of all, GM agreed to abide by the Obama fuel economy rules in order to secure a multi-billion-dollar bailout from the federal government a decade ago due to the market’s corporate death sentence of bankruptcy. But now that its top managers are raking in record dollars, it has flip-flopped and stabbed we American taxpayers in the back.

None of this will matter. In the long run, California and its fellow litigants only have to run out the clock until the next administration takes over and returns America to a state of normalcy. Courts take years to make a decision. By the time this matter gets settled, America will be nearing its tri-centennial celebration.

In the meantime, if you are considering the purchase of a new vehicle from General Motors, Toyota, Chrysler, Dodge, Subaru, Hyundai, or KIA, keep the immortal words of Nancy Reagan in mind: “Just say no.”

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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