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In Removing Major Roadblock to State Action on Emissions Standards, U.S. Department of Transportation Advances Biden-Harris Administration’s Climate and Jobs Goals

NHTSA withdraws rule that sought to preempt States from setting their own greenhouse gas emissions standards and zero-emissions vehicle mandates 

| Washington, DC

The U.S. Department of Transportation today continued its role in carrying out President Biden’s January 20 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis by finalizing a rule to withdraw its portions of the "SAFE I” rule. The rule sought to preempt States, including California, from issuing their own greenhouse gas emissions standards and zero-emissions vehicle mandates. The finalized action furthers the Administration’s important fuel economy, equity, and climate change priorities, including reversing unnecessary and unlawful efforts to prevent state action.

“This final rule removes a roadblock to important state actions tackling climate change,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “States can now actively pursue solutions to address the climate crisis and environmental challenges in their communities.”

After reviewing the public comments submitted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s April 2021 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, NHTSA concluded that SAFE I overstepped the Agency’s legal authority and established overly broad prohibitions that did not account for a variety of important State and local interests. The final rule ensures that SAFE I will no longer form an improper barrier to States exploring creative solutions to address their local communities’ environmental and public health challenges.

“States have been leading the way when it comes to cleaning up pollution and addressing climate change,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator. “NHTSA’s final rule removes unnecessary barriers to State leadership in seeking out creative solutions to challenges caused by greenhouse gases and other air pollutants released from the tailpipes of cars.” 

To read the final rule notice, please click here.

NHTSA 202-366-9550