US President Joe Biden is set to announce an end to a legal battle with California, established under his predecessor Donald Trump, over the state’s right to set stricter vehicle emission standards, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
California had taken advantage of a provision under the US Clean Air Act that permits states to set fuel-economy standards that go beyond federal rules.
But in 2019 Trump, who had already withdrawn the United States from the Paris climate accord, announced on Twitter that his government was repealing California’s federal exemption.
The state, which is led by Democrats and is the largest US auto market, is also on the forefront of the country’s fight against climate change.
California immediately challenged Trump’s decision in court, along with more than 20 other states.
The Biden administration has decided to reverse Trump’s move, according to the Journal, which cited “people briefed on those plans.”
The Department of Transportation, the paper said, could withdraw its legal defense against the states’ challenge as soon as Friday.
The announcement would coincide with the final day of Biden’s two-day virtual Earth Day summit with some 40 leaders, in which he hopes to rally the world on climate change and unveil more ambitious US commitments.
Restoring California’s right to set its own standards would allow Biden an opportunity to lead by example and break with the policies of his Republican predecessor, who dutifully worked to unravel environmental advances, including stricter standards on auto emissions, made by former president Barack Obama.
Flouting Trump, California had entered into agreements with four automakers — Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW — on fuel efficiency standards, circumventing the administration’s plans in a move that was immediately attacked by the ex-president.